Practical advice on how to cope with a miscarriage
Everyone's miscarriage experience will be different – in terms of the time it takes, the suddenness with which it begins and the way you feel about it. But it can be helpful to know what, in general, you can expect - and how best to deal with it.
As one Mumsnetter said: "Though the pregnancy books are full of tips on what types of sweets to pack in your hospital bag for labour, we're pretty short of simple tips to make the sheer yuckiness of going through a miscarriage a little more bearable."
In order to fill that gap, we've pulled together the advice that Mumsnetters who've been through a miscarriage themselves have given, and their tips on the things that could help make the experience a bit more manageable.
During a miscarriage
- If you're at home, expect to sit on the toilet for hours, or be back and forth to the bathroom. Settle in for the long haul - keep lots of spare toilet rolls and towels close to hand, and take mags, water, chocolate or whatever else you fancy in to distract/pass the time.
- Same goes for if you're going into hospital for a medical management. Music or a laptop to watch DVDs, and headphones to drown out any other noise around you.
- It may be worth packing a small bag of essentials if you're at home, in case you do need to go to the hospital unexpectedly. If you need to travel, sit on a plastic bag.
- Hot water bottles, heat pads, and wheatbags can all help ease some of the pain.
- Take painkillers - preferably before the pain gets too much. Doctors can prescribe stronger ones if you need them.
- If your miscarriage begins over the weekend or late at night, you can phone your surgery's out-of-hours number or NHS direct, or take yourself to A&E if you need to see someone.
- Drink water, as you will become very dehydrated, and take vitamin supplements - iron levels in particular need to be kept up.
- If the back of your neck feels cold, you have a fever, feel very faint or are in a lot of pain, call an ambulance or get to A&E. See someone if you notice any warning signs of infection - high temperatures, fever, sickness etc.
- Have someone with you at all times if possible, or people close by whom you can rely on to bring round any things you need and offer some comfort. Whether it's your partner, an understanding friend or your mum, talk to them about how you're feeling and let them look after you.
- If you have kids, get help looking after them. You're unlikely to have the time or energy to take care of anyone else. Ask for help from others as well - picking things up, cooking meals, whatever you need to take away any extra stresses.
After a miscarriage
- Use the thickest, most comfortable sanitary pads you can get hold of, or even nappies - cut off the sticky tabs and wear them with Bridget Jones knickers (preferably old ones you don't mind throwing away). Leggings or tight tracksuit bottoms will let you feel comfy but secure.
- Use feminine wipes, or baby wipes, to clean yourself up.
- Sleep on top of a towel or night pad that will soak up any leaks.
- Even if you think you're over the worst of it, if you're heading out be prepared with spare pads, knickers etc. Bleeding can sometimes return unexpectedly a while after.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions of medical professionals, or to ask to be reminded of your options.
- You're likely to feel weak for quite a few days while your body recovers. Your immune system will also be weakened, so take care and be aware you may pick up colds or bugs more easily.
- Allow yourself plenty of rest and any luxuries that will add comfort - a long, hot bath with nice smelling products or an afternoon watching movies.
- Take more time off work than you think you'll need, allow yourself to adjust physically and emotionally before trying to get back to 'normal' daily living.
- Cry if and when you want. Your hormones will be all over the place so don't be surprised by sudden emotions and let yourself deal with them freely. There's no set timescale for 'coping' with a loss like this. Let yourself come to terms and grieve in whatever way works for you.
If you know someone else who has been through a miscarriage who would be willing to discuss it with you this can really help, or there are Mumsnet's Talk forums. Everyone's experience will be different, but it can be helpful to know that others have also gone through this and can offer some support.