What to do after a miscarriage: how to recover, heal and move forward
One of the most difficult things a patient can go through is a miscarriage. It’s one of the hardest blows you’ll ever have to take to have had the positive pregnancy test to then lose your baby. Keep reading for some of the advice I give to my patients who have miscarried…
So many things – unfortunately – can go wrong in early pregnancy.
In fact, about 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage. In most cases of miscarriage, it happens because the fetus was developing abnormally. Rarely is it down to health problems of the mother.
You’re in no way abnormal or a failure if this has happened to you – it’s one of those terrible things that sometimes cannot be avoided.
I’m very sorry if this has happened to you.
It can be so hard to keep faith and believe in yourself when something like this happens to you on your fertility journey. I’ve witnessed the damage it can do firsthand from my patients.
What I’ve also experienced, though, is them go on to have a happy, healthy baby afterwards.
Right now it feels like your whole world is crashing down around you. But I promise you: it won’t always be this way. You will get through this. You can move forward.
Like with any loss, after a miscarriage you’re going to experience the different stages of grief.
This grief is a little different though, and can often be quite isolating in nature. Many of my patients find that they grieve at different paces to their partners and struggle to talk about it with their families.
Understanding the stages you’re likely to go through can help you to know what to expect and then process and accept the emotions as they come through.
Stage 1 – Shock/Denial
You’re in the same office where just a short time ago you were perhaps listening to your baby’s heartbeat, or being told a due date.
Now you’re being told that there’s no longer a heartbeat.
In a split second, you’ve gone from being an excited expectant mother to your dream being torn away from you. There can be a sense of disbelief that happens in this moment.
It can be hard to believe that your pregnancy has ended. You might urge the ultrasound doctor to check and check again. For a while, it’s just not going to make sense.
Stage 2 – Anger
The anger you feel may be directed towards yourself, your partner, your doctors, your friends who have babies, or maybe even towards the very Universe itself.
Why me? Why my baby?
You both deserved better than this.
During this stage, you will be irritable. You might find it hard to connect with people around you because you don’t think they can understand. Your anger isolates you. Builds walls around you that will deflect anyone who wants to try and help.
This happens to even the most rational of women – because miscarriage is not fair. There is a very good reason for you to be angry right now. But trust that this stage too, will pass.
Stage 3 – Bargaining
During this stage, you may now start in relentless searching on how you can fix the things that went wrong. You might retrace every step you took before you miscarried to see how you could have done things differently.
You will try anything that’s suggested to you. You will probably start trying again – and be deeply upset/frustrated when it doesn’t work again right away.
This could be the stage you’re in right now and it’s why you’ve wound up here on my blog.
While it’s good to move forward and take steps to empower your body to try again for a baby – it’s also important not to rush and remain patient with yourself after a miscarriage.
Stage 4 – Depression
This stage is when you truly experience the full weight of the loss of your baby.
When you realise that the future you imagined holding him/her has fully gone – and no amount of trying can change that.
It’s common to isolate yourself from people around this time. It can feel like nothing anyone can say to you will help you. No one can understand this pain.
While feeling a deep sadness is normal when processing the loss of a baby, if this stage is severe enough to negatively impact your daily life then you should reach out for support and help.
Stage 5 – Acceptance
Only time can heal the pain of miscarriage. With enough time, the pain eases off some and you think about it less and less.
You’ll never forget your lost baby, but you’ll be able to move forward with your life. This will remain a part of your fertility journey forever, but it won’t define it.
It’s healthy to move forward after a miscarriage, and it’s understandable to want to know why it happened and how you can make sure it doesn’t happen again.
One of the ways you can start to move forward is by investigating the possibilities of why you lost your baby through fertility testing.
For me, my ears are raised when a patient tells me she had one pregnancy loss. For your OBGYN or IVF clinic it’s usually 3 or more.
If this is your first or second miscarriage, you might not immediately be offered testing – which can be incredibly frustrating and distressing (it can feel like your loss is not being taken seriously). This is because usually these miscarriages are down to chance and not down to an underlying cause.
I always suggest getting some basic miscarriage testing like: a full thyroid panel, verifying that you don’t have any autoimmune issues (this is an easy one to miss), and checking if you have something called MTHFR (basically, looking to see if you are able to use folic acid or not).
- A full thyroid panel verifying that you don’t have any autoimmune issues (this is an easy one to miss), and checking if you have something called MTHFR (basically, looking to see if you are able to use folic acid or not).
- Verifying that you don’t have any autoimmune issues (this is an easy one to miss)and checking if you have something called MTHFR (basically, looking to see if you are able to use folic acid or not).
- Checking if you have something called MTHFR (basically, looking to see if you are able to use folic acid or not).
After you’ve had any necessary testing, you should then allow yourself time to heal and prepare for your next pregnancy.
You should spend time to be kind to yourself and your body and address the root cause for your miscarriage and fertility issues.
Allow yourself time to improve your diet, nutrition and lifestyle to promote a healthy uterine environment and learn how to support implantation. Not sure about what foods you should be eating to empower your fertility? You can download my FREE FERTILITY MEAL PLAN by clicking here.
If you’re completely lost at where to start, and your OBGYN doesn’t seem to be listening or ordering the tests you need to find peace of mind, we also offer 1 on 1 support for patients who have suffered through a miscarriage.
Take Mary. I have worked with her off and on for about 12 years. She emailed me after her second miscarriage. Her OBGYN wouldn’t even see her, let alone run any tests.
That’s why she emailed me this.
“Hi Marc — i wanted to see about coming back in for treatment. My husband and I are trying for another baby. Our son is 19 months now. Once we started trying, we got pregnant right away but I miscarried at 9 weeks this past July. Then we got pregnant again (first month trying) but it was a chemical pregnancy. I’d like to get your take on what’s going on.
Look forward to hearing from you…”
We ran tests, realized that her hyperthyroid was active, and began treatment.
She is now pregnant with all her numbers looking great, and a healthy heartbeat at her first ultrasound.
She is not out of the woods yet, but she is now much farther along than the 2 previous pregnancies.
“Ultrasound went well. They detected a heartbeat and said I was 7 weeks today which is about right. I’m going back in 2 weeks for another one. I’m so relieved 🙂
Thanks for the support.”
Mary is just one example of what can happen when a patient has a history of a miscarriage.
Any miscarriage is difficult for a couple. Hope, excitement and dreams are shattered. Even with this devastation there are some glimmers of light.
She got pregnant! This is an enormous check mark in the positive column.
Additionally, you are more likely to get pregnant again, within the next 3-6 months, after a loss.
To successfully treat a miscarriage, I believe your treatment needs to happen before you get pregnant again.
The fact that you had a miscarriage isn’t down to only your reproductive health. Before you start trying again, you should make sure he has been tested too.
A lot of the focus tends to be on women when we talk about fertility but his health and fertility are just as important when you’re trying for a baby.
After a miscarriage, you should look at yourselves as a couple and evaluate what you BOTH can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Things to consider for him are:
- Checking his sperm count
- Checking his sperm motility
How to test his sperm?
You can get testing done at a fertility clinic or you can order kits online. One of my favorite home-testing kits is by a company called Trak.
Trak is an FDA cleared home testing kit that will allow you to test and measure your sperm count and track it, from home.
Trak is more than a test in that it offers education and tools for improving male fertility based on your results.
This is a great tool to start tracking your sperm count, especially if you are just starting out on your fertility journey, or if your doctors have said that testing can wait and you should just keep trying.
Last thing… stay strong and don’t stop believing in yourself. It can be hard to go through a miscarriage without feeling self-blame and like you’re ‘not supposed’ to be pregnant.
But you are. You will be a mom.
If I can help you with this in any way, please reach out to me.