How Long It Takes for a Miscarriage to End?

Miscarriage is a very traumatic experience for any woman who has undergone it. Miscarriage is the termination of pregnancy, which is caused due to natural or spontaneous abortion. It is more frequently seen in women who are over 35 years of age. It usually happens within 24 weeks of pregnancy and majority of the cases happen within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The trauma of losing a child is the most distressing than the bleeding or physical pain caused by the miscarriage.

How Long Does a Miscarriage Last?

The percent of miscarriages is almost 10-20 percent of all pregnancies, but the number can be even higher. This is because many miscarriages occur before the woman is even aware of her pregnancy.

Signs & Symptoms of Miscarriage

The various signs and symptoms of miscarriage are:

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Cramps or pain in the lower abdomen or lower back
  • Discharge of fluid or tissue from vagina

Women who have experienced spotting in the first trimester can have successful pregnancies. If you do pass any fetal tissue from the vagina, it can be taken to the hospital in a clean container, for analysis.

Duration of a Miscarriage

How long does a miscarriage last? Miscarriages can last from one day to about 3 weeks in duration. It depends on various factors like the time required by the body to completely eliminate the fetal tissues etc. For some women the bleeding and cramping stops in a week, however, some can experience it for over 3 weeks. The average time is usually 2 weeks. If the embryo is absorbed by the body, the woman may not experience lots of bleeding.

After 4–6 weeks of experiencing a miscarriage, the next period can be expected, which could have a heavier period than usual. It can also be possible to conceive again during this period. If the woman does not experience any periods for 6 weeks, a pregnancy test can be taken to confirm.

Some experiences by women who had miscarriage are given below:

Case 1: Miscarriage at 6 Weeks but Found Out at 10 Weeks

On the 5th of June, I noticed a spot of blood on my underwear, when I went for a shower. I was carrying for 10 weeks by this time, so my husband took me to the ER. I experienced light spotting for 30 minutes in the hospital. I was told that my baby had died at 6 weeks and 9 days, and the doctor told me to come back to the hospital if the bleeding increased. The next day I could barely stand due to the cramping and bleeding, the pain was worse than labor pain. I underwent a D&C the next day and I was bleeding for a week, like periods.

Case 2: Miscarriage at 5 Weeks Without Severe Symptoms

My miscarriage occurred when I had completed 5 weeks and 5 days of pregnancy. 2 days of light spotting were followed by another 2 days of light bleeding and period like cramps. I was bleeding for the next 5 days.

Case 3: Miscarriage at 6 Weeks with Heavy Bleeding

I completed 6 weeks of pregnancy on Wednesday, when I lost my baby. It started off with mild cramps and spotting. I got upset and went on saying “oh no, oh no, oh no”. The bleeding became quite heavy in sometime and I realized I had lost my baby. The pain was so bad, as if someone was stabbing my abdomen with a knife. I was emotionally spent and the physical pain was very bad too. This is the most hopeless I have ever felt in my life.

Dos & Don'ts After a Miscarriage

  • Do not use tampons, use pads

Pads reduce the risk of infection as compared to the tampons and also tend to give a fair idea on the amount of blood loss. If the pad has to be changed per hour, it is necessary that you go to the emergency room or your doctor, since you are at the risk of developing a hemorrhage.

  • Avoid Infection

Precautions should be taken to avoid any infection. Using the shower instead of bath, and it is recommended to avoid swimming pools and hot tubs. It would also be advised to avoid intercourse when you are suffering from bleeding caused by miscarriage.

  • Use a well-supporting bra

If the miscarriage happens in the later stages of pregnancy, the breasts can remain large and even leak milk for several days. It can be painful and distressing. A well supporting bra can relieve the pain. Paracetamol can be taken as a painkiller or the doctor should be consulted.

When Can I Return to Normal?

Getting back to normal completely depends on the person. There could be physical weakness and things should be taken easy for some time. Doctor can be consulted if your health condition bothers you. Usually, the strength returns and you can return to usual activities after a few weeks.

When to See a Doctor

If anything mentioned below occurs, a doctor should be consulted:

  • If there is an infection, it can result in severe and prolonged abdominal discomfort or even fever. The doctor will prescribe antibiotic medication to treat the infection.
  • If there is irregular bleeding, then medical intervention will be required. If you experience bleeding which starts and stops intermittently and the duration ranges from a few days to weeks, certain procedures might be required as well.
  • If you need to change the sanitary pad every hour and you are passing large blood clots, immediate medical intervention is required. If there is uncontrollable bleeding and cramping as well, you should see the doctor. A procedure called Dilation & Curettage is required if the bleeding continues for 2 weeks after medical intervention. In this procedure the entire lining of the endometrium is removed, so that no tissue remains in the uterus.