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"Natural" miscarriage - what were you told to expect and did it help?

(37 Posts)
Gentle Fri 27-Mar-09 21:22:11

Only fair to say this might be hard for anyone to read who might be in the middle of a threatened miscarriage.

I have been reading through some messages here and am astonished about how many women who manage miscarriage at home are told it will be "like a heavy period" and then experience something more like labour & childbirth.

This happened to me too, 3 years ago now at 16 weeks pg. I remember sitting at home about 36 hours into it thinking, "These pains are coming regularly. I think I might be going into labour." 24 hours followed during which we kept phoning various healthcare providers and being told that unless I was haemorraging (and how do 2 laypersons determine this exactly?) there was no need for intervention. although eventually they did write a prescription for some Tramadol for my pain, which DH collected from the chemist. Shortly before I had the baby I remember wailing to DH, "I can't believe we're dealing with this on our own." I'd always thought that losing a baby, particularly after the first 3 months, was something that an ambulance came and carried you off for.

For myself, I wish someone had said, "It will be like labour, but probably without the pushing. You might see x,y, and z." I think pain relief should be offered early too, rather than begged for in the final throes.

Finally, I had a toddler to look after at the time. I thought I would just need a hot water bottle and some chocolate, but my poor little girl saw me in some distress before my husband left work and a babysitter finally was arranged.

What do others think? Was it better to go into miscarriage not knowing how it would be, or would you have preferred for someone to be more honest with you?

EldonAve Fri 27-Mar-09 21:34:36

The hospital info was rubbish - heavy bleeding, clots, strong period like pains - this was for early pg loss

I spoke to NHS direct, GP out of hours service, gynae ward. All useless re how much blood loss was too much.

Best advice I got was on here.

sundaywriter Fri 27-Mar-09 21:37:53

I didn't find it too bad at 12 weeks but was unprepared for level of cramps. Worst thing was the waiting built it up in my imagination to be something quite dreadful so the reality was almost a relief.

CMOTdibbler Fri 27-Mar-09 21:43:29

Hospital info was rubbish - MA info was good.

I think the trouble is that the pain and bleeding is very variable from mc to mc, and obviously generally the later the mc, the worse it will be.

It would be great if every woman was given a very clear information sheet that said things like

If you fill a sanitary pad with blood within 1 hour then call xxxx - you will need to come into hospital

If you fill a pad with blood within 2 hours, then you need to ....

If the pain cannot be managed with paracetamol and ibuprofen (take blah every blah) then call...

Really clear instructions and you would know exactly who to call when.

I've seen better info given to people having an x-ray than is dished out to women in a state of extreme distress

BionicEar Sat 28-Mar-09 00:58:52

Hospital didn't really give any advice or clues what to expect other than "it will be like a heavy period".

Think it would be far more helpful if they gave written info with what you could expect, as think even if they have said to to, you don't necessary take it in when feeling numb at the hospital.

2ndDestiny Sat 28-Mar-09 02:39:10

Gentle sorry for your loss and also that you had such a traumatic experience. I'm shocked that you had such a hard time getting pain relief for a late mc - you really must have suffered. When I mc'd at 10 wks (medically managed) I was given a whole box of codydramol by the EPU and I needed it. My EPU were pretty good and did provide some useful written information on what to expect, but when something unexpected happened, i.e. I fainted from the blood loss, my mum called the gynie ward as per the info sheet, only to have the Gynaecologist shout abuse at her for bothering him! Truly crap. Luckily I came round and the bleeding eventually slowed down. Totally agree women need better information and access to the right emergency support

Bleatblurt Sat 28-Mar-09 07:21:13

Gentle, my experience was like yours.

I was 14 weeks pg and had my 3.5 year old and 6 month old baby with me while I went through it.

I was expecting painful period pains but what I got was contractions. It took days to happen and I didn't sleep for 2 days due to the pain.

When my baby arrived I had to find something to put him in - he was tiny but perfect.

I really should have been in hospital and I guess I could have just turned up there but I was made to feel as if it was normal to just stay at home.

sifuentes Sun 12-Apr-09 19:17:40

I was told nothing at all (mmc at 11 weeks) other than yes it looks like a mc - come back next week to check it's all gone.

that was it. In fact it was the worst pain i have ever experienced, the disgusting feeling of passing hundreds of enormous clots still haunts me and oh my god just the amount of bleeding.

mrsturnip Sun 12-Apr-09 19:26:32

I had an 8 week natural m/c - and tbh it was like a heavy period. I got run down and stressed and ill with it though.

doggus Sun 12-Apr-09 20:43:58

I totally agree with everything that has been said here. I reckon that if it were MEN going through this they'd be in hospital a week.

At 12 weeks, I had severe cramps, loads of blood and clots, passed a baby, and am still bleeding now at three weeks later. I rang my GP twice in a panic and both times was told, yes, sounds like you are miscarrying, nothing we can do. I have been at my GP practice a while, they know how long it takes for me to conceive and it would have been nice for someone to phone me afterwards and just say sorry and are you OK, but nothing.

doggus Sun 12-Apr-09 20:44:59

I forgot to reiterate what another poster said - by far the best advice was from mumsnet and by far the most empathy and kindness!

Tads Tue 20-Oct-09 12:54:23

I've just had a miscarriage at 11+ weeks. We found out for definite at the scan although I'd already started bleeding, so was a little more prepared for bad news. I opted for a natural miscarriage, not wanting surgery or to be monitored in hospital and felt that was the best option considering it was already happening. I was asked if I'd lost any fetal tissue and I had to ask the nurse to differentiate between that and normal blood loss and clots. I hated the way they questioned me as though this happens to me every week. I realise they see a lot of it, but would have appreciated a little consideration!

I was told to expect blood loss, like a heavy period with clots and potentially grey stringy matter. I was not told that it would be perfectly manageable for 6 days and then I would suddenly go into what can only be described as a sudden and violent labour. It was actually a LOT worse than labour because there was no let-up in the pain at all and the blood was just literally pouring out of me. I couldn't speak and certainly couldn't organise care for my toddler, or get myself to A & E. I read the rule about going through a pad an hour after this experience, but was probably going through about 6 an hour during the worst of it. I was just about to call for help when what looked like the sac came away and I had the feeling of relief like the euphoria after giving birth. The worst part lasted about 3 hours and was over as suddenly as it had begun. I imagine your cervix dilates to let it all out, but quite quickly and efficiently, which makes it a lot more painful. 2 weeks later and I'm still losing blood (though not much) and no one seems to have a definitive answer about how long this should go on for either. I can only assume my body knows what it's doing and, in the absence of any of the warning signs - apart from duration, I'm assuming it will eventually stop.

Personally, I would have liked a bit more information. I realise we are all different and each experience is different, but I would have been a lot less scared about bleeding through three pairs of trousers and agonising pain if I'd known in advance that it would pass quite quickly and was considered to be within the realms of normal. Knowing this might also have actually have changed my decision about whether or not to opt for a D & C.

Ebb Wed 21-Oct-09 11:40:10

I totally agree that the lack of information of what will actually happen is really poor and I'm so sorry for everyones losses and I'm shocked that those having late mc's have been treated so badly and expected to labour at home.

I miscarried on Monday night at 9wks. I'd had a scan at 8wks which had revealed no heartbeat so I knew I would mc soon. I was totally unprepared for what I went through. At my scan it was all very 'positive' and questioning my dates. Nobody said what might happen.

At about 10.30pm I passed a big clot and then started bleeding really heavily. I was changing night time pads every 10mins. I had an early booking in appointment this pregnancy so rang the emergancy midwife and was told to come in to gynae ward. By the time I got to hospital ( 20min drive ) I was soaked in blood and really freaked. I didn't expect that level of pain either. It was like constant labour pain. The hospital staff were faultless. I was treated with consideration and respect. I was kept in over night on a drip and a scan confirmed the mc in the morning. I have to be rescanned next week to check everything is gone but at least the bleeding has eased. I was sent home with a supply of pain killers and told I could ring the ward at any time to discuss anything.

My boss has had 3 mc's and she said hers were just like very heavy periods so I guess it varies from woman to woman. I would like to have been better prepared though as I found it all really scary.

I feel lucky that I have a 17mo Ds. I think that's made it slightly easier to cope with. I swing from wanting to try again soon to not wanting to try again at all for fear of having to go through that again. sad

castlegirl Thu 22-Oct-09 17:05:22

I miscarried at 12 weeks, and was not told what to expect. I had had an abnormal scan so was expecting something, and had looked on the miscarriage association website. I miscarried large chunks of what looked like raw liver, which terrified and horrified me, sending my body into panic mode. Luckily the information I had read mentioned similar things, so I knew it wasn't abnormal. The pain was like nothing I had ever felt, and I really think I should have been given painkillers by the EPU. It's the only time I've ever considered taking many more painkillers than it says on the boxes, because I was totally desperate.
More detailed and unfortunately graphic information would have been useful for me, but I don't think everyone would like it - some people would be very scared. It would also have been useful to know about this group before it happened, but I only found out afterwards.

Tads Sat 24-Oct-09 00:53:39

Ebb and castlegirl, I'm so sorry for your losses as I am for everyone else on this site.

I have a 15mo ds. Makes it a little easier for those with kids I'm sure, but I'm so sorry for what you've been through. I don't think there is any wrong or right with this situation. I just feel that my care has been particularly bad. I have been bleeding (now spotting) for 21 days and, whilst I'm not particularly concerned for health reasons, I am absolutely exhausted ALL the time (way more than when I had my son) and I haven't gone a day where I can risk not using a pad which is, frankly, really annoying. To top it off, I took a pregnancy test yesterday (day 20 after the start of bleeding) and it was positive. Arrrggghhh!

In fairness, my doctor did call me a day after I'd had the us and asked if I wanted a check up at 6 weeks post m/c. I refused because it seemed too much like my experience post happy birth and I figured I'd be fine by then as I was still in shock.

All the literature I received from the hospital said the bleeding would stop between 7-10 days and I just feel reluctant to call, because I feel like I'm creating a fuss and that they will just tell me to wait it out.

Ironically, my mother (a nurse) told me to eat as much iron as I could because she thought I was anaemic. She suggested liver and I can't imagine a single woman post-miscarriage who would consider that as a food source ever again, even if they ever liked it!!!

Anyway, I'm still of the mind that a little info on the fact that some people experience labour-esque pains would be good. Without wishing to sound OTT, I went through 101 hours of labour with my ds and it was more manageable and less traumatic than the 3-4 hours I spent in indefinite agony whilst having a miscarriage. There were times when I really did think I might be bleeding to death, but felt too out of it to care. I'm quite glad I didn't go to A & E actually, because to go through that in a waiting room would have been totally unbearable!

I really wish you all the very best for any future pregnancies and am so grateful for this forum for making me feel normal!

jodi25 Mon 09-Nov-09 11:15:31

I cannot believe i have just found this page after everything i went through last week during my miscarraige!! i went for scan at 10 weeks and 3 days and was asked if my dates were right which i knew were, as they could only see the pregnancy sac and yolk sac. they told me afterwards i either got my dates wrong or was in early process of miscarriage.

3 days later i started to bleed lightly then next day was having contractions (i know as have 3 boys 4, 2 and 1) got the urge to push after 3 hours of this extreme pain so i went to toilet and 2 liver like lumps came from me same size and colour. i was in complete shock. i was told the same as most on here "expect a heavy like period and pains" mine was more like labour and birth. nothing like a heavy period at all.

then a few hours later went to bed after taking paramol with ahot water bottle still in alot of pain but i was just so tired woke up 2 hours later in a puddle of blood urge to push again and another liver looking sac came from me. about 2 hours later the pain had eased and was the "like a period" in both blood and pain.

all as what was going through my mind was is this normal because it was nothing like what i was told or what i expected. then yesterday my sac came from me, luckily i saw know baby but at times a wouldnt look as i was suffering enough emotionally. i can honestly say it the worse by far experience i have ever had and i for one wish i was told to expect this even if they gave me a leaflet to read through. any woman experiencing this is going through enough as it is without the shock that comes with the pain and birth like experience. it has crushed me emotionally, i am still in tears every couple of hours as i feel like my body has rejected a baby at 11 weeks and i literally had to give birth to whatever ws comin out of me and i was just left at home to do so with 3 kids downstairs.

when i rand the midwife today to cancel my appointment for my bloods she told me it is normal to experience the contractions and the liver sized clots, so why the hell didnt the midwifes and nurses at the hospital tell me the same and what to expect. i dont feel women get enough info or support from the health professionals at the hospital although my midwife has been great with me, she has been fantastic just wish i had rang her before today so she could of told me what to expect - although would she have told me before hand??

any women out there who have been through this or are going through it know my heart goes out to you and my thoughts are with you.

bb99 Mon 09-Nov-09 11:29:43


I am so sorry for your loss and what you have been through sad. There is no exscuse for the lack of information available and I know from my own experience and reading on here, most women NEED truthful and sometimes graphic information about what to expect from a miscarriage at any stage. It is a scary and traumatic enough time without trying to figure out if what is happening is normal or you need a blue light service to the hospital.

I have just miscarried again and had a threatenned mc at 11 weeks with this pg. Having had a 6 week loss I knew that the doctor was WRONG when he said that the 'show' could have been the baby.

It's almost as though they think they are being kind when they don't tell you these things. For me not knowing what is happening to my body is an even worse loss of control than having mcs in the first place.

I hope that you can find the support you need to come to terms with the feelings you may be having and to recover.

be kind to yourself and remember you can always ask as many questions as you like and you have the RIGHT to be treated in a dignified and sensitive manner by any health professional. (sorry for the hijack)

Much luck to you xx

RnB Mon 09-Nov-09 12:05:04

So sad to read these awful experiences. I think I a still scarred by a miscarriage I had at 10 weeks 3 yrs ago.

detoxdiva Mon 09-Nov-09 12:18:16

So sad to read these just highlights a need for more help and advice for women going through this.

My mmc was picked up at my 12 week scan sad and I was given the option to come in for an ERPC or to wait to mc naturally. I booked in for the op but mc over the weekend anyway. I was told to expect a heavy period with similar pains. What I got was contractions and massive blood clots that lasted the best part of a day.

I think with hindsight that I would have wanted to know what could have happened - to be mentally prepared, and to have stronger painkillers ready in case I needed them.

sussexpud Mon 23-Nov-09 14:05:43

I was told there was no heartbeat at 12 week scan - they said the heart probably stopped beating at 8-9 weeks. We were given the option of waiting, medical, or surgical (ERPC)...we decide to wait....expecting my mc to be like a heavy period. I have never experienced so much unrelenting pain, heavy blood loss and passing large clots. As I have never been pregnant /had kids I was thinking surely labour cannot be worse???? There was no let up.....just a a constant contraction with no space of relief in between. Horrendous experience - paracetomol no help....ended up in ER (A&E) for painkillers......I was bleeding heavily and still had to wait......Anybody been thru both labour and a miscarraige and found the pain from m/c worse? because right now I am terrified of labour pains and am considering an epidural.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 23-Nov-09 14:11:51

I wasn't told anything and it was awful. I lost most of my 'products of pregnancy' sad sitting in my car stuck in snow after having been told to home fromt he hospital, having sat in the antenatal ward waiting room for 7 hours, bleeding all over their chairs (left a stain blush) while they worked out whether or not I had a molar pregnancy. I remember sobbing uncontrollably on the phone to DH, stuck in snow in another car. Horrible day, and I'm crying now just thinking of it, nearly 7 years on.

sh77 Mon 23-Nov-09 16:39:57

Oh gosh. Reading this thread promted me to have an erpc afte waiting 3 weeks for a natural loss. The heavy bleeding started 2 days before and I passed a huge clot on the morning of the erpc. Glad I didn't go through with natural.

My pains were not too bad given the amount of blood I lost. I have had labour pains and they were hell. Epidural was the most amazing thing ever.

pruneplus2 Mon 23-Nov-09 22:53:10

[sussexpud] Sorry for your loss.

I have given birth twice (I have 11 and 8 yr old DC's) and I naturally miscarried twice this year at around the same gestation as your loss.

I can categorically say that my 2nd m/c was unbelievably painful. I was virtually climbing the walls and it was on par with giving birth pain wise - in fact it was worse. I had the same as you, relentless agonising contractions that had a milisecond between them.

[HOWEVER], giving birth does hurt like hell, but IME it is a positive pain - I know it sounds like a cliche, but when labouring you are working towards something that has been 9 months in the making, possibly months or years in the planning. You can practice breathing and relaxation tecniques throughout pregnany. Positive emotion spurns you on. NOTHING can prepare you for miscarriage - the physical pain or emotional aspect.

You have many, many pain relief options when giving birth and its usually a less intense experience and usually over a slightly
greater length of time.

Not sure if I have helped! When you are ready to start again, bring up your concerns with your midwife who will hopefully help you make choices regarding pain relief in labour.

Best wishes x

LadyGaGaGoo Tue 24-Nov-09 22:53:34

I had a MMC two weeks ago at 12 weeks and was completely unprepared. I ended up going into hospital twice I started bleeding when near a big hospital with an EPU, and rushed there as I was worried. They did a scan and said there was no heartbeat.
Not a great experience - the doc was obv busy and kept on being called out during the scan/chat afterwards (The second opinion one they called in was nice). I was so shocked and upset that I couldn't take anything in, went home and started bleeding in earnest - going through 8 pads in 3 hours feeling faint. I just couldnt remember whether the doc said whether to go back and also had DC asleep in bed so just carried on.
It quietened down after that for 2 days except then it all kicked off again, walking down the street, bleeding really badly and wouldn't stop. I went back to the hospital and had an injection to stop the bleeding, anti-sickness stuff and another scan. They decided against an EPRC in the end.
Sorry for all details I am just worrying the hospital has probably put on my notes I should have stayed at home, and coped by myself. I feel guilty for taking up time there and although the second time I went in everyone was lovely, the first doctor I found distracted and prob thought I was making a fuss. But I found it very scary, painful and nothing like a 'heavy period' both times.
Two weeks on, still bleeding a bit and trying to be jolly for DC, DH and be ok, but I feel very down and confused. Sorry MNers, no one else to talk to....didn't mean to rant like this. A bad moment I think.....

sweetkitty Tue 24-Nov-09 23:09:08

Can I share my experience too? I was told to expect a heavy period and slight cramping.

I mc'ed at about 11 weeks although the baby never made it past 8. I had 2 days where for about 4 hours the bleeding was uncontrollable, from this I mean I was sitting on the sofa with DD1 who was 3 at the time and has 2 pairs of pants and a maternity pad on, I felt a gush like I had wet myself but it was blood, in the time it took me to stand up the blood was running down my legs, had soaked right through the sofa cushion to the other side and was on DD1 and the toy she was holding, will never forget that. Was changing pads ever 10-20 mins for about 4 hours that day.

The next day was fine in the morning well period type loss then in the afternoon it started again, again soaked through the sofa cushion and at one point I actually just sat on the toilet and let it flow out as I was running out of pads, DP was at work and I remember DD1 and 2 playing round my feet and me resting my head on the wall. I phoned the hospital and was put through to a MW I think, she said "well if you are not coping at home you might as well come in!" as if it was a burden and I was making a fuss. I couldn't go to hospital as had DD1 and 2 with me with no childcare.

Luckily it stopped after about 4 hours again and that was that, I think I lost the baby down the toilet that second time sad

When I told a MW about this a week later she said there was no way I should have been at home passing that much blood and in pain too.

Why wasn't I told that?

As someone else said on here, there was no mention of what to do if you think you are bleeding too much

It was a horrendous experience and although I went on to have DD3 shortly after the lochia stage brought it all back with the pads etc. If I were to have another mc I would have an ERPC like a shot.

Unfortunately my PC was broken and I had no MN.

So in answe to OPs question, I would have wanted the honest truth.

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