What to Expect After an Early Miscarriage

A miscarriage can be one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. There's no way to predict how it will affect you emotionally, nor are there tips for making the loss of a pregnancy less heartbreaking. Grieving is a very personal thing.

The physical experience of miscarriage, on the other hand, is fairly predictable, depending on in which stage of the pregnancy it took place. If you've recently lost a pregnancy, you may get some small comfort from having an understanding of what is happening in your body.

How Much Cramping Is Normal?

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If you have a miscarriage very early in your pregnancy—within the first several weeks—it will feel as if you're having a heavy period with cramps that are more intense and painful than usual. Afterward, you're likely to have mild cramps for a day or two as your uterus returns to normal size.

If after a miscarriage at any stage you have severe cramping that doesn't let up, call your doctor. He will want to rule out an ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants somewhere other than in the walls of the womb.

How Long Will Bleeding Last?

Usually, bleeding subsides within two weeks and can be managed with sanitary pads until it stops completely. Heavy and prolonged bleeding can be cause for concern.

Soaking more than two maxi pads per hour for more than 2 hours in a row may be a sign of infection or an incomplete miscarriage.

Bleeding that falls into this category may be an indicator that some of the tissue from the pregnancy hasn't been expelled. If this is the case, it may need to be removed surgically in a procedure called dilation and curettage, or D&C, or with medication.

When Do Pregnancy Symptoms Stop?

Until the hormones that are generated during pregnancy completely clear from your body, you may still feel pregnant after a miscarriage. For example, your breasts may be sore and swollen, you may continue to have morning sickness and nausea, and you may feel more fatigued than usual. You should be back to normal within a few weeks. 

What Symptoms Should I Worry About?

A small percentage of people develop an infection after a miscarriage, so it's important to know the signs. If you begin to run a high fever; have bleeding and cramping that continues for longer than a couple of weeks; you develop chills, or have a foul-smelling vaginal discharge, contact your doctor right away.

When Will I Ovulate?

It's possible to ovulate as soon as two weeks after an early miscarriage. This means that it's also possible to become pregnant again that soon after a loss.

If you don't want to conceive again right away, it's important to use contraception when you begin having sex. Any method of birth control is safe after a miscarriage, even an intrauterine device (IUD). 

When Will hCG Go Back to Normal?

In most cases, human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, a hormone that the placenta produces during pregnancy, will return to pre-pregnancy levels within two to four weeks after an early miscarriage. Essentially this means there will be no detectable hCG in the body.

This is important to know if you plan to try for another pregnancy. When hCG is at zero, the lining of your uterus has returned to normal and will be able to receive a newly fertilized egg. 

The exception is in the case of a molar pregnancy, a rare event where a tumor grows in the uterus instead of a viable embryo. When this happens, hCG must be monitored for weeks to months after the loss to watch for complications and assess treatment needs (such as surgery or chemotherapy).

When Can I Conceive Again?

There is no reason to put off trying to become pregnant again after an early miscarriage. There's no evidence that getting pregnant again right away increases the risk of another miscarriage. Waiting until after you've had a period before trying to conceive will make it easier to calculate the due date of your next pregnancy. 

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Early pregnancy loss.

  2. Al-Talib AA. Clinical presentation and treatment outcome of molar pregnancy: Ten years experience at a tertiary care hospital in Dammam, Saudi ArabiaJ Family Community Med. 2016;23(3):161-5. doi:10.4103/2230-8229.189129

By Krissi Danielsson
Krissi Danielsson, MD is a doctor of family medicine and an advocate for those who have experienced miscarriage.