Miscarriage – normal and natural but also extremely sad

Seeing that your pregnancy test is positive is pure happiness. You quickly adjust to the fact that you're expecting a baby and life changes from one day to the next in an almost magical way. If you have a miscarriage you'll most likely be extremely disappointed. It can be hard to deal with all the difficult emotions, but a miscarriage is something you have to let yourself take seriously. You must let yourself grieve.

Jenny Jansson

4 min read

Reviewed by Jenny Jansson

Certified midwife

Miscarriage – normal and natural but also extremely sadPhoto:Preggers

All pregnant women are terrified of miscarriage, but might still think, "It won't happen to me." Sadly, as many as one in five pregnancies end in early miscarriage, it's just nature's course. However, one in five women has bleeding early in their pregnancy without experiencing a miscarriage. Up to 20-40% of all pregnant women experience one or more instances of bleeding in the first trimester without this being a sign of miscarriage.

Early miscarriage

Miscarriage is called 'early miscarriage' if it happens before week 13 (12+0). After week 13 (12+0) the risks reduce significantly. Miscarriage often begins with bleeding which can be minor or heavy. Pain is a common symptom. If the bleeding is light, it might be enough to just keep an eye on it. If you're bleeding heavily, however, or are in pain, you should contact your midwife or doctor.

Missed abortion (MA)

A missed abortion means that the pregnancy has terminated of its own accord. It can take several weeks to experience symptoms such as bleeding or pain. It's usually discovered during a scan. A missed abortion is treated in the same way as an early miscarriage, depending on what the doctor finds when they perform a vaginal ultrasound.

Late miscarriage

Late miscarriages happen in weeks 13-22 but are rarer. The causes vary and can be due to a problem with the fetus or mother. Nature makes its decision, without anyone being able to affect the outcome. In the case of miscarriages, and perhaps especially late miscarriages, it can be easy for a pregnant woman to blame herself and think "What did I do wrong?". But it's never the woman's fault, miscarriage just happens naturally. Cell division might have gone wrong, for example. Also, this phenomenon can occur so early that the woman doesn't even have time to notice that she's pregnant, she just notices that menstruation is only delayed for a few days.

What happens when you have an early miscarriage or missed abortion

A miscarriage is diagnosed depending on what the doctor sees on the scan, which decides how the situation progresses. The body usually takes care of the miscarriage naturally and expels everything. In cases where any residue remains in the uterus, the doctor will usually want to wait a few weeks and then decide whether to prescribe drugs to help the body expel what's left. A scrape operation might be necessary, but this is not common.

After a miscarriage, it's important not to have a bath, use a tampon or have sex. In the same way as after birth, there is a wound where the placenta was attached, and that can get infected.

Getting pregnant after a miscarriage

There are no restrictions on getting pregnant again after a miscarriage, but it might be a good idea to wait for at least one menstrual cycle before the next pregnancy. This is usually best for most people both physically and mentally, but is individual and entirely up to you.

Feelings and thoughts

If you've experienced a miscarriage, you may be feeling very low, and that's completely normal. You must let yourself grieve and mourn your loss. If you're experiencing negative feelings and finding it difficult to let go, you might need help processing your feelings. If it feels like you're stuck in the grieving period and can't move on, it's a good idea to seek help from a psychologist or counsellor.

Jenny Jansson

Reviewed by Jenny Jansson

Certified midwife

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