When pregnancy loss happens

The loss of a baby during pregnancy can be heartbreaking. You may feel stunned or shocked. You may wonder why this happened to you and your baby. You may feel cheated and angry. Or you may just feel sad. It’s OK to have these feelings.

Pregnancy loss happens to many women. It happens to as many as 10 to 15 percent of known pregnancies. Many losses happen early on, before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. Whether you had a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or other condition that caused your pregnancy to end, know that most women who choose to get pregnant again go on to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Give yourself plenty of time to grieve and heal. After losing a baby, some women may want to get pregnant again right away.  Some may want to wait awhile. Take your time to decide if you and your partner want to try again. Talk to your provider about what happened in your last pregnancy. There may be things you and your provider can do to help prevent problems next time.

You may find that talking about your feelings helps you deal with your grief. Visit Share Your Story®, our online community where families who have lost a baby can talk to and comfort each other. Sharing your story may ease your pain and help you heal.

Most common questions

How do you know if you’re having a miscarriage?

Signs of a miscarriage can include vaginal spotting or bleeding, abdominal pain or cramping, and fluid or tissue passing from the vagina. Although vaginal bleeding is a common symptom of miscarriage, many women have spotting early in their pregnancy but don’t miscarry. But if you’re pregnant and have bleeding or spotting, contact your health care provider right away.

 

What is dilation and curettage?

Dilation and curettage (also called D&C) is when a doctor removes tissue from the lining of a woman's uterus. Dilation ("D") is a widening of the cervix to allow medical instruments into the uterus.  Curettage ("C") is the scraping of the walls of the uterus.

Some women have a D&C after a miscarriage to remove tissue. Providers also use D&C to treat heavy bleeding or to help diagnose infection, cancer and other diseases.

After  a D&C, you can return to your regular activities as soon as you feel better, maybe even the same day. You may have vaginal bleeding, pelvic cramps and back pain for a few days after the procedure. Talk to your provider about medicine you can take for pain. Don’t use tampons or have sex for 1 to 2 weeks after the procedure.

When can I try to get pregnant again?

For most women, it's best to wait at least 18 months before getting pregnant again. This amount of time is best if you miscarry, or if your baby is stillborn, or if your baby dies after birth. Waiting this long gives your body enough time to heal between pregnancies. Also, giving yourself this time may help you feel less worried about your next pregnancy. Depending on your age or other medical reasons, you may not be able to wait this long. Talk to your provider about what's right for you.

©2013 March of Dimes Foundation. The March of Dimes is a non-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).