Incomplete Miscarriage 

Today's exams show your pregnancy has ended suddenly. This can be emotionally very difficult. There is little that can be done to change the way you feel. But understand that miscarriages are common.

About 1 or 2 out of every 10 pregnancies end this way. Some even end before you know you are pregnant. This happens for a number of reasons, but usually the cause is never known. It’s important you know that it is not your fault. It didn’t happen because you did anything wrong.

Having sex or exercising does not cause a miscarriage. These activities are usually safe unless you have pain or bleeding or your healthcare provider tells you to stop. Even minor falls won’t cause a miscarriage. Miscarriages happen because things were not developing as they were supposed to. No medicine can prevent a miscarriage. After you have recovered, you should still be able to get pregnant again. But before trying, talk with your healthcare provider.

It appears that your miscarriage is not yet complete. Some tissue from the pregnancy is still in the uterus. You will probably have more cramping and bleeding for the next few days as the tissue leaves your uterus. Usually all of the tissue will pass out by itself. But sometimes tissue remains. In that case, it must be removed to stop bleeding and prevent infection.

Home care

Follow these tips to take of yourself at home:

  • You can go back to your normal activities if you don’t have heavy bleeding or pain.

  • You may have some cramping and bleeding, but it shouldn’t be severe.

Until the bleeding stops completely and to prevent infection:

  • Don’t have sex until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Use sanitary napkins instead of tampons.

  • Don’t douche.

Having a miscarriage can be very difficult emotionally. It's natural to feel sadness or grief. It may help to talk about your feelings with family and friends, or with a counselor.

Follow-up care

You may pass fetal tissue. If you see anything, it may appear as a 1-inch or larger piece of gray or pink flesh. If fetal tissue has not passed from your vagina within the next 5 days, you need to see your healthcare provider for another exam. To prevent infection in the uterus, your provider might need to take out the tissue by surgery. Or you may be given medicine to take at home to help your body expel the rest of the tissue.

If you had an ultrasound, a radiologist will review it. You will be told of any new findings that may affect your care.

Call 911

Call 911 if you have:

  • Severe pain and very heavy bleeding

  • Severe lightheadedness, passing out, or fainting

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Trouble breathing

  • Confusion or trouble waking up

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Heavy bleeding. This means soaking 1 new pad an hour over 3 hours.

  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Pain in your lower belly (abdomen) that gets worse

  • Weakness or dizziness

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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