Prayer After A Miscarriage
After a miscarriage
After a miscarriage, you may well need time to recover physically as well as emotionally. You may have some questions about what happens to the remains of your baby, or you might be asked to make some difficult decisions.
Physical recovery after a miscarriage
Everyone is different, but many women find that it can take them anything from a few days to a few weeks to recover physically from a miscarriage.
You may find that you are particularly tired or feel generally run down.
Or you may feel better or simply relieved once the process has happened, especially if it took a long time or if there was a long period where it wasn’t clear if you were miscarrying or not.
All sorts of things can have an impact on your recovery, including how much bleeding you have had and how long the process has taken. There are no absolutes, but if you are worried that it is taking you a long time to recover physically, it might be worth talking to your GP.Take a look at our pages on ectopic pregnancy and molar pregnancy for information on these conditions.
If you need time off work to recover, physically or emotionally, you may find it helpful to read our leaflet Miscarriage and the Workplace. It is written for employers but also has useful information on your rights relating to ‘pregnancy-related illness’.
Periods after miscarriage
Most women will get a period somewhere between four and six weeks after their miscarriage, and it may be heavier and longer than usual. It can take a while for periods to get back to a fairly regular pattern.
After the miscarriage: what happens to your baby
When a baby dies before 24 weeks of pregnancy, there is no legal requirement to have a burial or cremation. Even so, most hospitals have sensitive disposal policies and your baby may be cremated or buried, perhaps along with the remains of other miscarried babies.
Guidance from the Royal College of Nursing advises that hospitals should offer parents the option of arranging individual or shared cremation or burial of pregnancy remains, usually paid for by the Trust; or, if parents prefer, the option of taking the baby’s remains home and making private arrangements. You should be given time to decide – as well as the option not to make a decision at all.
However, actual practice varies a great deal and sadly, some hospitals may still treat the remains of an early loss as clinical waste unless you request otherwise. (This is not illegal in England and Wales, although Scottish government guidance is different.)
If you want to find out about the arrangements at your hospital, ask a nurse or midwife on the ward or unit where you were cared for, the hospital chaplain, the PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison) officer, or the hospital bereavement service.
You may want to make your own arrangements for burying or cremating the remains of your baby, whether you use a funeral director or a specialist cremation service or choose to bury the remains at home or somewhere else. You can read more about this on page 14 of this leaflet and below. There are some things to think about and you may want to contact us for further information.
If you miscarry at home
If you miscarry at home or somewhere else that’s not a hospital, you are very ly to pass the remains of your pregnancy into the toilet. (This can happen in hospital too.
) You may look at what has come away and see a pregnancy sac and/or the fetus – or something you think might be the fetus.
You might want to simply flush the toilet – many people do that automatically – or you may want to remove the remains for a closer look. That’s natural too.You might think about bringing the remains to your GP or hospital, perhaps for them to confirm that you have miscarried or because they may be able to do some tests. Tests on pregnancy remains aren’t usually done unless you are having other investigations, but if they are, you may be asked to keep the remains cold until you can bring them to the hospital.
You might choose to ask the hospital or GP to dispose of the remains of your pregnancy. Or you may decide to bury the remains yourself: at home, in the garden (as Erin did); or in a planter with flowers or a shrub; or perhaps somewhere else, as Jenny did. There are some things to think about and you may want to contact us for further information.
A certificate for your baby
Although there is no legal certificate after a pregnancy loss before 24 weeks, some hospitals provide a certificate for parents to mark what has happened. For many parents, this is an important memento.
If you have not been given a certificate but would to have one, contact a nurse or midwife on the ward or unit where you were cared for, the hospital chaplain, the PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison) officer, or the hospital bereavement service. If they don’t have anything they can offer, you could ask them to use one of the examples shown here.
Mailing preference service
The national Mailing Preference Service allows consumers to register their wish not to receive unsolicited direct mail. They also have a Baby Mailing Preference Service to enable parents who have suffered a miscarriage or bereavement of a baby in the first weeks of life to register their wish not to receive baby related mailings.
After a Miscarriage: What Happens and How to Cope
If you were rejoicing over a positive pregnancy test just weeks or months ago, coping with a sudden and unexpected miscarriage can be difficult.
Even though you never saw your baby (except, perhaps, on ultrasound), you knew that he was growing inside you (and you may have even formed a bond).
You may have daydreamed about your baby and imagined yourself as a mother. And then, all the excitement abruptly came to a stop.
Understandably, you may feel a range of emotions: sad and disheartened over the loss, angry and resentful it happened to you, possibly withdrawn from friends and family (especially those who are pregnant or just had babies).
You may have trouble eating and sleeping at first and accepting the finality of it all. You may cry a lot, or you may not cry at all. These are all among the many natural, healthy responses to a pregnancy loss.
Remember: Your reaction is what’s normal for you.
Feeling in the dark about what happened, what to expect and what your next steps should be can make the situation even tougher. But keeping your partner and health care practitioner in the loop about what you're going through physically and emotionally can help you through this time.
What is a miscarriage?
A miscarriage is when an embryo is expelled from the uterus before it can survive outside on its own. Often, the first sign this is happening is heavy bleeding accompanied by abdominal or back pain and cramping.
Depending on how far along your pregnancy was, these symptoms can last for just a few days — a normal period — or up to three or four weeks.
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor so he or she can diagnose the miscarriage and help you with the next steps.
What happens next
By the time you learn that you had a miscarriage or ever see a doctor, the process might be mostly over (the physical part at least) or not even begun. If you suspect a miscarriage, see your practitioner right away.
He or she will confirm the miscarriage using an ultrasound to check if the pregnancy is growing normally or whether there’s a heartbeat, and possibly perform a pelvic exam to see if your cervix is dilated.
Your doctor may also draw blood to check your hCG levels, your blood count (to determine how much blood was lost), and your blood type (to check for Rh incompatibility).
If your blood type is Rh negative, you may also receive a shot of Rh immunoglobulin (it’s possible for your blood to come into contact with fetal blood cells during a miscarriage — and this shot can prevent serious problems in later pregnancies).
Emptying the uterus
Once the miscarriage had been diagnosed, your uterus will need to be empty so your normal menstrual cycle can resume and you can try to get pregnant again, if you choose to.
If your first sign of a miscarriage was heavy bleeding — especially if it was just a few weeks into pregnancy — then it’s possible that the miscarriage was “complete,” meaning all the fetal tissue has already been cleared your uterus.
But sometimes — especially the later in the first trimester you are — a miscarriage isn’t complete, and parts of the pregnancy remain in the uterus (known as an incomplete miscarriage) that need to be removed.
There are a number of ways this can be accomplished:
- Expectant management. You may choose to let nature take its course and wait until the pregnancy is naturally expelled. Waiting out a missed or incomplete miscarriage can take anywhere from a few days to, in some cases, three or four weeks before your body takes care of things and you resume normal menstrual cycles.
- Medication. If there’s no sign of your body expelling the embryo on its own, your health care practitioner might instead give you the option to take miscarriage medications — usually mifepristone or misoprostol — to help speed things along. Within a few days of taking a pill or receiving a vaginal suppository, you’ll start to expel fetal tissue and placenta. Just how long this takes varies from woman to woman, but typically it’s only a matter of days at the most before bleeding begins. These medications cause some of the same side effects that you might have experienced when you were just letting nature take its course: cramping, bleeding, nausea and diarrhea.
- Surgery. Another option is to undergo a minor surgery called dilation and curettage (D&C). During this procedure, a doctor will gently scrape the fetus and placenta from your uterus. Bleeding following the procedure usually lasts no more than a week. Though side effects are rare, there is a slight risk of infection following a D&C.
How should you decide which route to take? Some factors you and your practitioner will take into account include:
- How far along the miscarriage is. If bleeding and cramping are already heavy, the miscarriage is probably already well under way. In that case, allowing it to progress naturally may be preferable to a D&C. But if there is no bleeding (as in a missed miscarriage), misoprostol or a D&C might be better alternatives.
- Your emotional and physical state. Waiting for a natural miscarriage to occur after a fetus has died in utero can be psychologically debilitating for a woman and her spouse or partner, if she has one. It’s ly that you won’t be able to begin coming to terms with — and grieving for — your loss while you're still pregnant. Completing the process faster will also allow you to resume your menstrual cycles soon, and when and if the time is right, try to conceive again.
- Risks and benefits. Because a D&C is invasive, it carries a slightly higher (though still very low) risk of infection. The benefit of having a miscarriage complete sooner, however, may greatly outweigh that small risk for most women. With a naturally occurring miscarriage, there is also the risk that it won’t completely empty the uterus, in which case a D&C may be necessary to finish what nature has started.
- Evaluation of the miscarriage. When a D&C is performed, evaluating the cause of miscarriage through an examination of the fetal tissue will be easier.
Resuming normal activities after a miscarriage
Whether or not you had a surgical procedure to treat your miscarriage, your doctor will let you know when it’s okay resume normal activities ( exercise and sex).
While you may be able to get back to your usual routines right away, your practitioner may recommend that you don’t put anything in your vagina (which means abstaining from sex and avoiding using tampons) for two weeks to avoid infection.
Make sure to see your health care provider for a follow-up appointment a few weeks after your miscarriage.
Even if your miscarriage progresses naturally and is relatively pain-free, your health care practitioner will ly want to check in with you for a few weeks or months to make sure you don’t develop any complications (don’t worry, these are all very rare).
If you keep bleeding for more than seven days, this excessive bleeding can be a sign that there’s still placenta in the uterus, or that you’ve developed an infection. Other signs of an infection can include foul-smelling discharge, fevers, chills and abdominal pain.
If your practitioner suspects an infection, he or she will ly treat it with a course of antibiotics.In extremely rare cases, retained products of conception (the technical term for any embryo or placenta left in your uterus) can start abnormally growing and form a type of tumor called a choriocarcinoma.
After a D&C, you’ll also have a slight risk of complications from the surgery. In around 16 percent of first D&Cs women develop scarring, called Asherman’s Syndrome, inside their uterus or around their cervix. It can take a second surgery to get rid of those scars, but luckily, you’ll recover and be able to get pregnant again.
Your emotions after miscarriage: The stages of grief
Whenever a pregnancy loss happens, you’re ly to experience many feelings and reactions. Though you can’t wish them away, understanding them will eventually help you come to terms with your loss.
Many people who suffer a loss of any type go through a number of steps on their road to emotional healing.
These steps are common, though the order in which the first three occur may vary and so, too, may the feelings you experience.
- Shock and denial. There may be numbness and disbelief, the feeling that “this couldn’t have happened to me.” This is a mental mechanism designed to protect your psyche from the trauma of loss.
- Guilt and anger. Desperate to pin the blame for such a senseless tragedy on something, you may blame it on yourself (“I must have done something wrong to cause the miscarriage” or “If I’d been happier about the pregnancy, the baby would still be alive.”). Or you may blame others — God, for letting this happen, or your practitioner (eve if there is no reason to). You may feel resentful and envious of those around you who are pregnant or who are parents, and even have fleeting feelings of hatred for them.
- Depression and despair. You may find yourself feeling sad most or all of the time, crying constantly, unable to eat, sleep, be interested in anything or otherwise function. You may also wonder if you’ll never be able to have a healthy baby.
- Acceptance. Finally, you’ll come to terms with the loss. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you’ll forget the loss — just that you’ll be able to accept it and get back to the business of life.
Coping with grief after miscarriage
The grief you're feeling is real — and no matter how early in pregnancy you experienced the loss of a baby, you may feel that loss deeply.
Some well-intentioned friends and family may try to minimize the significance of a loss with a “Don’t worry, you can try again,” not realizing that the loss of a baby, no matter when it occurs during a pregnancy, can be devastating.
And the fact that there is no possibility of holding the baby, taking a photo, having a funeral and burial — rituals of grieving that can all help offer some closure for parents of stillborn infants — may complicate the recovery process.
Still, if you’ve suffered a miscarriage (or an ectopic or molar pregnancy), it’s important to remember that you have the right to grieve as much — or as little — as you need to. Do this in any way that helps you to heal and eventually move on.
Turn to your partner for support — remember that he or she is mourning the loss of a baby too but may show that grief in a different way. Sharing your feelings openly with each other, rather than trying to protect each other, can help you both heal.
If you're religious, ask your pastor, priest rabbi or spiritual leader for guidance. Perhaps you’ll find closure in a private ceremony with close family members or just you and your partner.
Sharing your feelings — through a support group, with a friend or online — with others who experienced a miscarriage can also be a comfort.Ask your practitioner to recommend a therapist or bereavement group to help you through this difficult period.
Since so many women suffer a miscarriage at least once during their reproductive years (at least 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage), you may be surprised to find how many others you know have had the same experience as you but never talked about it with you, or maybe never talked about it at all. (If you don’t feel sharing your feelings — or don’t feel you need to — don’t. Do only what’s right for you.)
When will you feel normal again?
No matter what you’re feeling — and given your situation, your feelings may be all over the emotional map — give yourself time. Accept that you may always have a place in your heart for the pregnancy you lost, and you may feel sad or down on the anniversary of the due date of your lost baby or on the anniversary of the miscarriage, even years later.
If you find it helps, plan on doing something special at that time — at least for the first year or so — that will be cheering yet allows you to remember: planting some new flowers or a tree, having a quiet picnic in the park or sharing a commemorative dinner with your partner.
While it’s normal to mourn your loss — and important to come to terms with it your way — you should also start to feel gradually better as time passes.
If you don’t, or if you have continued trouble coping with everyday life (you’re not eating or sleeping, you’re not able to focus at work, you’re becoming isolated from family and friends) or if you continue to feel very anxious (anxiety following miscarriage has been shown in studies to be even more common than depression is), professional counseling can help you to recover.
Getting pregnant again after a miscarriage
Health care providers used to recommend waiting a number of months before trying to get pregnant again after a miscarriage. They’ve learned, though, that the uterus is remarkably good at recovering from a miscarriage, and most doctors now say it’s okay to try again as soon as you’ve had one normal menstrual cycle.
But check with your practitioner about your specific situation — if there’s scarring in your uterus or pieces of placenta left behind, he or she might recommend a longer wait.
Even among women who have had four consecutive unexplained pregnancy losses, about 65 percent have a successful next pregnancy that ends in a live birth.
Try to remind yourself that you can — and most ly will — become pregnant again and give birth to a healthy baby. For the vast majority of women, a miscarriage is a one-time event — and actually, an indication of future fertility.
Recruiting a Pregnancy Prayer Support Team
The book of Nehemiah is quite amazing. Nehemiah was a man of God who served as the cupbearer to the Persian King Artaxerxes I. He heard about ruins in Jerusalem and asked the king if he could return there and oversee repairs to the broken down city wall. Jerusalem had been his home at one time and he cared deeply for the people still living there.
The king allowed him to go and gave him everything he needed to complete the work. Nehemiah recruited the people of Jerusalem to help build the wall and assigned everyone a task.
Unfortunately, there were many people in the surrounding cities that didn’t want Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem to succeed. And back then, being against something a city or group of people were doing meant threat of physical violence.
Nehemiah spent much time in prayer (see Chapter 1 of the book) but also took special precautions to avoid the worse.
What about pregnancy?
This is something we can apply to our pregnancies as well.
While we don’t have physical enemies coming after us with sword and shield, we do have spiritual enemies who come only to steal, kill and destroy.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rules, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
The enemy wants nothing more to steal our joy, kill our children, and destroy our hope
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
But Jesus came that we may have LIFE. It’s no coincidence that God says “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).
We must be aware of this life and death fight
And this is where we can use Nehemiah to help us. Nehemiah did three very important things:
- He prayed – over and over
- He maximized their safety by telling half the people to work and half the people to stand guard (Nehemiah 4:13-18)
- He made a plan to gather and fight together if and when necessary (Nehemiah 4:19-20)
“The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
We can do the same in our pregnancy journey. Don’t let the enemy get a foothold. Be prepared with a team of fighters at your side.
- Pray – a TON
- Invite your friends to stand with you in prayer – Don’t wait until something goes wrong. Ask as soon as you consider trying to conceive, tell them when you’re pregnant, and keep them apprised of your pregnancy throughout.
- Make a plan and use it. Sound the trumpet! Call or email your army to fight with you if anything goes wrong, and especially to praise with you when things go right.
Why is this so important?
We must build an army from the beginning because the enemy is there lying to us from the very beginning. When we’re trying to conceive, he’ll plant all types of lies in our heads about the potential outcome of this attempt.
He’ll remind us of our loss at every turn and urge us to reconsider continuing to try. If we don’t conceive month after month, he’ll tell us that something’s wrong with our body and we’ll never get pregnant.
He’s a liar! We need a team to help ward him off with an abundance of prayer.
Then, when conception does happen, there’s that enemy again – telling us what could go wrong, when it might go wrong, and all the ways we could make it go wrong. We’re second-guessing our every meal, activity, and thought. Why would we ever want to go through this without a support team covering us in prayer?Lastly – IF we do have another miscarriage, wouldn’t we want a team of friends and family right there and ready to support us through another loss? IF I start to bleed early on, I want to say “Please pray for me, I’m bleeding” not “So, I’m pregnant but I’m bleeding, so can you be praying for me?” Why put my friends through the roller-coaster of seeing “I’m pregnant” and then immediately bursting their bubble with the unknown but clear possibility. I don’t know about you, but telling someone I’ve lost the baby is hard enough without adding to it the potential of telling them I was pregnant, but now I’m not. Why not just give them the story while it’s occurring rather than after the fact?
If you don’t have a group of people that can pray with you – let me! Send me a quick note to ask for prayers; I’d love to pray with you through this season.
Coping with a Miscarriage: Biblical Words of Encouragement
A miscarriage is the emotional roller coaster of riding high on the expectancy of a new baby to the lowest depths of pain from loss. Miscarriages can come without warning or time to prepare your heart to cope.
Well-meaning people try to comfort with words of advice and encouragement, but the brokenness remains. Even though the emptiness may seem to consume your heart, there is hope in Christ.
The book of Psalms offers words of comfort that can seep through your hurting heart to bring truth and peace.
Truth: My heart hurts
“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life” (Psalm 119:50).
No one escapes pain. It’s a part of living in a fallen world. Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to be your Comforter during this difficult time of your life. The Holy Spirit is always available day or night when you need Him. You can pour out your frustration, confusion, and anger before God because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Year after year Hannah was unable to have children and this brought her unimaginable anguish so that she couldn’t eat. It was after Hannah poured out her soul to God that her faith was renewed and refreshed in the Lord. (1 Samuel 1:2-20) Healing from deep hurt is possible when submitting your heart to God for healing.
Truth: My hope is lost
“Do not let my hopes be dashed” (Psalm 119:116)
You must not give up on your Lord; He knows your suffering …
We hope our prayers will be answered in the way we desire, but it doesn’t always happen. It becomes difficult to hope because we are afraid of disappointment. Yet our hope can be built up again one faith step at a time.
When the storm suddenly hit their boat, the disciples lost all hope of survival. They woke Jesus up in a panic in which he calmed the raging storm with a few words. Afterwards he asked “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:22-25) Jesus still asks that questions of us. Where is our faith when our painful times come without warning? Hope that was lost can be found through faith in God’s word.
Truth: My mind is troubled
“My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught” (Psalm 55:2)
A troubled mind can’t rest in peace and quietness. It will keep you up at night and hassle you all day long. Worrying about your future isn’t God’s will for your life. He’s in control when you aren’t. You can trust Him in the dark days to keep your mind when you focus on Him and not your situation.
Hagar found herself out in the wilderness with her son and no water. Her thoughts were troubled and she cried in her distress. God heard her son, Ishmael, also crying and sent an angel to lead her to a well.
(Genesis 21:14-21) Our troubled thoughts can be refreshed through the living waters of the Holy Spirit. He will lead you to think on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy.
Truth: My strength is gone
“My strength fails because of my affliction” (Psalm 31:10)
A miscarriage can sap your spiritual, emotional, and physical strength. After a time of recovery, you may need to enter into a deeper rest of spiritual solitude. In this time of prayer and meditation you will find your peace to move forward with your life. In quietness and confidence, you will find strength. (Isaiah 30:15)
After running from Jezebel, Elijah became so exhausted that he wanted to die. He lost the strength to move on until an angel appeared with food.
Elijah didn’t find God in the wind, earthquake or fire, but rather in a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:13) Be still before God and listen to His voice speak to you through His Word.
(Psalm 46:10) You will find strength in the bread of life flowing from God.
Truth: My joy is depleted
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:6).
After the loss of your baby, your joy may seem elusive. Joy from the Lord is deeper than happiness. It’s the reassurance that God is still on the throne and has a plan for your life. Joy is replenished with patience and time spent with God. (Ecclesiastes 2:26)
Sarah must have wept many nights for the promised child. She didn’t give birth to her son, Isaac, until her nineties.
Isaac’s name meant “laughter” as she knew that many women would laugh with her in joy of God’s grace over their lives.
(Genesis 21:6) Your joy will be stirred up again as you turn to the Heavenly Father for wisdom and direction in your life. His joy remains in you no matter your circumstances.
Not everyone can clearly understand what it’s to lose a baby. Some who have had lost babies may have moved past the pain and have forgotten the great significance you are going through.
Yet God is able to make all grace come on your life to endure. You must not give up on your Lord; He knows your suffering and longs for your surrender to His purposes. God will hold you through this.
Just trust Him.
20 encouraging Bible verses for the brokenhearted
Resource – New International Version Bible, The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblca, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. video “Solid Rock” by 4 Him
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as: Christian advice, Encouragement, miscarriage
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