This is the name given to the loss of a baby during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriages that happen before 13 weeks are known as early miscarriages, and those that happen between 13 and 23 weeks are known as late miscarriages. Experiencing the loss of a baby at any stage is devastating – it doesn’t matter how far along the pregnancy was.
Everyone copes with loss differently – there is no right or wrong way to cope with miscarriage. It is completely normal to grieve and need support to get through this difficult time, but some women and their partners may not feel that they need additional support. This is entirely your choice – your midwife will be there to support you and signpost you for any additional support you might need.
Unfortunately miscarriage is common, and thought to affect as many as 1 in 4 pregnancies. In most cases we don’t know exactly why a miscarriage happens, but it’s often due to chromosomal issues that mean the baby could never have developed properly. This means that it’s not your fault, and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it. Most women who have a miscarriage can go on to have a healthy and normal pregnancy, but if you have experienced multiple losses, it’s a good idea to see your general practitioner (GP) to check whether there is an underlying problem.
- Symptoms of miscarriage can include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Abnormal discharge
- Loss of pregnancy symptoms
None of these symptoms mean that you’re having a miscarriage, but if you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical advice:
- before 13 weeks of pregnancy: contact your GP or midwife
- after 13 weeks of pregnancy: call Labour Line on 0300 3690388
If you bleed heavily, you must go to A&E without hesitation.
Miscarriage is usually diagnosed by an ultrasound scan, although you may need other tests. Sometimes you may need to stay in hospital overnight, but you can usually go home the same day.