Miscarriage may be rarely discussed, but the problem is distressingly common for many couples trying to have a baby. One woman in six who conceives will go on to miscarry.

Why?

This is the first question a woman asks herself when she suffers a miscarriage. Many women look for reasons and blame themselves. But there is nothing that you can do to prevent most miscarriages; nor are they due to any underlying health problem in most cases.

Is there anything that can be done to reduce the risk?

There is little you can do to prevent a miscarriage, however a healthy lifestyle such as diet (reducing caffeine intake), exercise (avoiding high impact sports such as horse riding), minimising alcohol consumption (less than five a week) and not smoking, will all have a positive effect.

Smoking does increase the risk of miscarrying by a third, so it is worth giving up.

What causes a miscarriage?

It is unlikely that we will ever know the exact reason for your miscarriage, but the most likely reason in the first 12 weeks is an abnormal development of the fetus. These pregnancies were never destined to succeed.

What are the signs of a miscarriage?

Period-like pain and bleeding are the usual symptoms. Bleeding during pregnancy is a warning sign and should therefore be investigated. Period-like pains are common in early pregnancy and are often not significant unless severe.

Will resting prevent a miscarriage?

Resting won’t stop a miscarriage and walking around won’t encourage one. However, when a miscarriage occurs many women blame themselves. Resting often allows you to feel that you have done all you can to prevent it from happening.

How long does it take to recover?

Some women feel well within a few days, while others might feel tired and tearful for several weeks or even months following a miscarriage. It can be very difficult to come to terms with the loss. Feelings of guilt, disappointment, anger or even jealousy are common. While you won’t forget your miscarriage, you probably will not always be overwhelmed by these feelings and will be able to move forwards.

However, if you find that you can not talk about your experiences of miscarriage or you feel that you are not recovering as you would wish, then it may be advisable to contact your GP or a counsellor or the Miscarriage Association, whose details can be found on the back of this leaflet.

When can I try again?

It is preferable but not essential to wait until you have had one normal period. This is so that your hormones and the
lining of the womb have returned to within normal levels. Probably, the best advice is to wait until you feel physically and emotionally ready.

When should I see a specialist?

It is advisable that you see a specialist or consultant if you have had three or more miscarriages in a row. Blood tests, vaginal swabs and an ultrasound scan of the uterus are checked for any abnormalities. But often there is no reason for the recurrent miscarriages and couples are given reassurance, advice and support to keep trying.

Contacts and telephone numbers

Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic (EPAC)
Specialist nurses – Juliette Turton and Lisa Norman

Jasmine Ward
Tel: 01935 384385

Miscarriage Association
Tel: 01924 200799
www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk

Yeovil Pregnancy Crisis Centre
www.ypcc.co.uk

Ref:14-16-164
Review: 12/18