Miscarriage is the loss of a developing baby (foetus) in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy. As per the study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, miscarriage occurs in over 10% of the known pregnancies. It can make a woman’s body physically and emotionally fragile. To heal from the loss of a baby, it is important to know how to clean the uterus after a miscarriage naturally and what steps one to recover emotionally.
Miscarriage: What to Expect
It is most common for miscarriages to occur during the first three months of pregnancy. These occur for various reasons, from hormonal disturbances to implantation at an incorrect location in the uterus to a developmental problem.
1. Chromosome Problems
Sometimes, the fetus gets an abnormal number of chromosomes, leading to a congenital disability (a condition present at or before birth) in the developing baby. As per a study, most miscarriages during the first trimester of pregnancy are due to chromosomal abnormality.
2. Placental Problems
The placenta supplies blood through which the developing foetus gets nutrients. If any problem occurs with the placenta or develops abnormally, it can disrupt the blood supply. It will ultimately lead to pregnancy loss.
3. Uterus Abnormalities
If the shape of the womb is abnormal, it can also lead to pregnancy loss. The development of any tissue growth (fibroids) in the uterus also increases the risk of miscarriage.
4. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
It leads to hormonal imbalance, which can cause detachment of the foetus from the uterus.
5. Cervical Problems
Cervix is the neck of the uterus. If the cervical muscles are weak, they can lead to early pregnancy loss.
6. Lifestyle Factors
These include habits like smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse. These factors are known to induce miscarriages.
7. Certain Health Conditions
Following health conditions are associated with an increased risk of miscarriages:
- High blood pressure
- Coeliac disease
- Kidney disease
- Thyroid problems
- Certain medicines can promote miscarriages:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
The sign of miscarriage includes:
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting
- Pain and cramping in the abdomen
- Weight loss
- Fluid discharge from the vagina
- Mild to severe back pain
Signs of a Miscarriage
If the following signs and symptoms are seen, the consulting doctor tests to confirm the miscarriage. It includes:
- Ultrasound scans: In this, a small probe is inserted into the vagina to check the foetus’s heartbeat.
- Blood test: In this, the levels of hormones like HCG (Human chronic gonadotropin) and progesterone are checked. Both hormones are associated with a healthy pregnancy.
- Pelvic examination: It is done by checking the cervix, whether it is thinned or opened.
Types of Miscarriage
Based on the stage of pregnancy and symptoms, there are different types of miscarriages:
1. Complete Miscarriage
In this case, all the tissues of the developing baby are expelled out of the body, followed by vaginal bleeding. It may last for a few days and then begins to taper off.
2. Incomplete Miscarriage
Sometimes, all the pregnancy tissues may not expel out of the body leading to intense cramping and bleeding. You need to be under the supervision of an expert to expel out all the remains.
3. Missed Miscarriage
Sometimes, the developing baby dies within the body, but labour doesn’t occur. The dead foetus remains in the womb until the woman is ready to expel it out. In missed miscarriages, women experience brownish vaginal discharge. The pregnancy symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and tiredness may fade away in some. It can last for a month and is discovered during an ultrasound scan.
4. Septic Miscarriage
Miscarriage occurs because of uterine infection.
5. Threatened Miscarriage
In this, the body starts to show signs that you may miscarry, so it is known as a threatened miscarriage. The woman may experience bleeding or cramps before the miscarriage. It mostly occurs in early pregnancy. In this, the cervix remains firm and closed. The bleeding and cramping become worse in a few weeks, and you push out the foetus.
6. Inevitable Miscarriage
It is followed by threatened miscarriages. In this, women may experience more vaginal bleeding and strong uterine contractions. It leads to the dilation of the cervix leading to miscarriage. Many women feel intense labour pain for several hours. The bleeding and cramping last for a few days and must be monitored.
7. Recurrent Miscarriage
If a woman suffers three or more miscarriages during the first three months of pregnancy, it is called a recurrent miscarriage.
8. Miscarriage due to Abnormal Pregnancy
- Ectopic Pregnancy: In this, the embryo is implanted outside the uterus, maybe in the fallopian tubes. The chances of survival of such an embryo are negligible. The women may not know about it initially until the bleeding occurs. It is followed by severe lower abdomen pain, vaginal bleeding with whitish discharge, and vomiting. The woman needs urgent medical supervision.
- Molar Pregnancy: It is a type of pregnancy that doesn’t develop properly. In this case, the tissues are surgically removed.
- Blighted Ovum: In this, there is no baby in the sac. It is diagnosed during an ultrasound. In most cases, the baby is conceived but reabsorbed into the uterus very early stage. It is also known as ‘anembryonic pregnancy.’
When Can a Body Heal After a Miscarriage?
There are many causes behind miscarriage, but knowing the risk factors, signs, and causes will help get the right treatment. Recovery time varies among different women. It may take a few weeks to months to recover. When a woman faces pregnancy loss, it can be challenging for her, physically and emotionally. The body and mind go through the following changes:
1. Physical Health
Women experience bleeding and discomfort after miscarriage. Bleeding is similar to menstrual flow but lasts longer for a week or more, depending upon the stage of pregnancy and type of miscarriage. If it lasts for more than 2 weeks, you must consult a doctor.
It will take around 3-6 weeks to resume a normal menstrual cycle. You may also have severe abdominal pain lasting for 2 days post-miscarriage. It can also extend up to the lower back, similar to period cramps. Also, it takes around 2 weeks for the uterus to return to normal size and cervix closure. If the pregnancy lasts for more than 12 weeks, the breast may be engorged or leak milk. You might feel a little discomfort that can be relieved using a supportive bra or ice pack for a week. If it doesn’t ease after a week, consult a doctor.
If the remains of foetal tissues are not removed from the uterus, it can cause pain in the pelvis and vaginal discharge. It can also lead to fever, cramps and bleeding. You must consult a doctor. The main aim of the pregnancy loss treatment is to prevent bleeding and infection. If the body fails to expel the remaining foetal tissues, the doctor performs Dilation and curettage (D&C) surgery. The doctor inserts a thin instrument into the uterus and removes the remains. The doctor may prescribe some medications for pain-relieving and to control bleeding. It prevents further infection.
2. Mental Health
You might feel emotional disturbances after miscarriage. You may blame yourself or others for the loss. You feel mixed emotions, including guilt, anger, and even resentment towards other pregnant women.
Some women go into a state of denial and refuse to believe. The mental blockage protects the brain against trauma. As a result, many women go into depression or anxiety. It leads to social isolation, loss of appetite, loss of interest in daily activities, and periods of intense sorrow. It may also trigger a sense of hopelessness and vulnerability inside you.
Every woman experiences a varying degree of emotions, as mentioned above. As time passes, they start to heal. Finally, after a couple of months, they accept their loss and come out of the emotional trauma.
Also Read: 12 Foods That Can Cause Miscarriage
How to Clean Uterus After a Miscarriage Naturally
Pregnancy loss can drain a woman emotionally and physically. You may lose interest in everything and want to isolate yourself from everyone. Instead, it is best to take proper care and clean the uterus. It helps in full recovery and improves the chances of the next healthy and successful pregnancy.
Here’s all you need to know about how to clean the uterus after a miscarriage naturally:
1. Take Rest and Proper Medications
Give yourself an ample amount of rest as it is paramount. Get help with house chores and other work so that you can relax and recover as soon as possible. It is best to follow the following tips.
- You can also do some light exercise and meditation to calm down.
- If you have trouble sleeping, you can take warm milk before bedtime.
- Take proper medications as per the doctor’s advice to relieve pain.
- Check body temperature daily for the first five days after the miscarriage. If it goes beyond 100 degrees F, it can be a sign of infection. Consult a doctor.
- Maintain proper vaginal hygiene to avoid the risk of vaginal infection. Use sanitary pads or tampons.
- Keep yourself hydrated by taking 8-10 glasses of water daily.
- Bathe twice a day to maintain proper hygiene and reduce further risk of infection. You can prepare a herbal bath by adding yarrow, rosemary, lavender, garlic, sage, and sea salt. The herbal combination is anti-bacterial and relaxing.
- Avoid sex for the first two weeks after miscarriage.
- Try fertility massage to promote hormonal balance and increased blood circulation to the uterus.
- It is best to keep in touch regularly with the doctor. They will give proper advice to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), bacterial infections, and when to try for another baby.
2. Hot and Cold Compress
Most women feel headaches and body ache after miscarriage. It can be relieved by applying a hot or cold compress on the head and the body.
3. Nutrient-rich diet
After the miscarriage, the body undergoes many physical changes, and you might feel emotionally exhausted. At this stage, nutrients are crucial to nourish the body and are foundational to the healing process. It is important to take
- Iron-rich diet to overcome iron or blood loss like meat, eggs, chickens, salmon, pumpkin seeds, beans and nuts. Women with low iron levels are more depressed and prone to infection.
- As calcium level falls, take a calcium-rich diet. It includes milk, dry fruits, and soy.
- Food is rich in essential vitamins and minerals like green leafy vegetables, sprouts, broccoli and quinoa.
- Avoid alcohol, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks that can cause dehydration.
- Food that supports body functions and provides energy.
- Foods that are easy to digest and prepare like soups, fruit juice, tea, stews and smoothies
4. Manage Stress
You might feel an amalgam of emotions, including fear, guilt, anger, worry and sadness. Many stressful thoughts run across the mind. It is crucial to managing stress for a speedy recovery. Give yourself time to accept and heal the pain. Nurture yourself and promote the overall well-being of the body.
5. Use of Herbs
Certain herbs are available that can support the healing process. It includes,
- Cramp bark: It helps in reducing cramping.
- Yarrow leaf or flower (Achillea millefolium): Prevent excess blood flow. The herb promotes detoxification of the body while strengthening and tightening the tissues. Making it an excellent herb for miscarriage recovery. It supports the overall health of reproductive organs. Yarrow also relieves inflammation and reduces pain. It is best to curb heavy bleeding.
- Red raspberry leaf tea: It nourishes and tones the uterus. It also helps in managing the iron level.
- Motherworts: It slows down the bleeding and uplifts the mood.
- Adaptogenic herbs: It includes herbs like ashwagandha that can support the mood swing and help in balancing the hormones.
- Immune-supporting herbs like turmeric, ginger, tulsi, amla, and giloy. They stimulate the body’s immune system and reduce the risk of infections.
You can take some herbs six weeks after the miscarriage; they help naturally clean the uterus after a miscarriage.
1) Angelica: It increases circulation supports the nervous and reproductive systems. It also promotes peaceful thoughts and reduces anxiety. In addition, the herb reduces uterine spasms, supports digestion and stimulates the immune system.
2) Black Cohosh Root (Actaea racemosa): It is an anti-inflammatory herb that reduces uterine pain and spasm. It promotes healthy blood flow to the pelvic area and tones pelvic muscles. In addition, the herb helps the uterus to get back to its pre-pregnancy state and promote a regular menstrual cycle. The herb has been used for hundreds of years by trained herbalists and midwives. It also promotes calm uterine contractions that help expel remaining foetal content from the body.
3) Vitex or Chaste Tree Berry: The herb regulates the hormones and supports the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is the master gland that stimulates all the body's other glands. When hormones return to normal levels, they bring back the normal menstrual cycle.
4) St. John’s wort flower (Hypericum perforatum): The upper ariel part of the herb reduces anxiety. It is a mild sedative that cures depression and lifts the spirit. It also prevents infection and inflammation of the body, leading to physical recovery.
Physical recovery won’t be helpful if you don’t come out of emotional trauma. Also, physical recovery is quicker than emotional recovery. So here are a few tips to overcome the range of emotions: Guilt, Sadness, Anger, Resentfulness, and Depression.
1. Consult a Doctor
They will explain the possible reasons behind the pregnancy loss. And also help you to prepare yourself for your next successful pregnancy.
2. Don’t Stress Yourself
The hormones after miscarriage return to normal level in some time. Till then, you feel irritable and moody. Don’t stress too much and keep yourself distracted.
3. Meditation and Exercise
Light breathing exercise or a short walk will release happy chemicals from the body and keep you energetic. Meditation can also help. It is best to take advice from the doctor regarding the type of exercises you can do.
4. Connect with Partner
Your partner has also experienced the loss. He might not be able to express it because of the loss of a baby and a grieving woman to take care of. During this phase, a couple experience poor communication and sexual disharmony. It is advised to connect with the partner and encourage each other to get over it. Here are some ways to recover:
- Space: To facilitate healing, allow yourself time to cry, grieve, and express deepest feelings. It is advisable not to pretend that everything is fine and jump back to normal life. Instead of this, encourage you and your partner to move through the grief. It can be draining to both of you, but it’s crucial for healing.
- Share: Communication is the key. Instead of keeping the grief to yourself, talk about it with your friends, family, or partner. Talking about it will heal you.
- Move: Gentle activities like walking, dancing, stretching, breathing, or yoga with your partner will release endorphins or happy hormones from the body. It will keep you distracted and supports healing.
- Honour: You can do a soulful activity to honour the pregnancy and baby. It may include lighting candles or planting trees. It will take away the emotional burden from the heart and help you move on.
- Bless: Feeling blessed for all the good things and the ability to generate new life will help. You can give yourself an abdominal massage with oil. You can go for spiritual healing meditation classes. It will motivate you and your partner.
5. Acceptance is Key
Instead of blaming yourself, accept that it happened due to a medical reason. The stage of grief includes denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It is natural to go through all these phases before getting over them and moving on.
Many women falls into depression post-miscarriage. In extreme cases, the doctor may advise anti-depressants, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy.
It is advised that women remain cautious after the miscarriage too.
- You should not try to conceive until you have completed at least one menstrual cycle.
- Keep the weight in check and do regular exercise.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking. Limit the consumption of coffee and caffeinated drinks.
- Take multivitamins and folic acid supplements as per the doctor’s advice.
- Avoid sex for at least 2 weeks to prevent chances of pregnancy.
- Consult a doctor,
- If you develop fever, it can signify an infection and lead to infertility
- If you see any kind of vaginal discharge
- If bleeding doesn’t stop
- If pain lasts for more than a week
- Before planning next pregnancy
How Soon Can You Resume Normal Activities After a Miscarriage?
You can resume normal activities as soon as you recover. It can take up to a few weeks. It is best to avoid any kind of physical strain, sex, and heavy exercise for a few weeks. Do not hesitate to talk to the doctor.
As per a study, many women's periods return in 4-6 weeks post miscarriage. Also, within a few period cycles, the hormones become regulated. As per the guidelines by the world health organisation guidelines, it is best to wait six months to conceive again. It will reduce the risk of another miscarriage and stillbirth. It also prevents the risk of maternal anaemia and the low birth weight of the child.
Miscarriage is the loss of pregnancy within 20 weeks. It can be due to various genetic, environmental, lifestyle, or medical factors. It shows signs like bleeding, pain abdomen, cramping, or vaginal discharge. Pregnancy loss can make women physically and emotionally fragile.
Take proper rest, a nutrient-rich diet, and continue your medications as recommended by your doctor. Having a miscarriage doesn’t mean that you cannot have a healthy pregnancy. It is best to consult a doctor for preparing the body for the next successful pregnancy. It is a mishappening there’s is no right or wrong way to feel the loss. Give yourself and your partner some time to grieve and get over it.
- Judy Slome Cohain, December 2017; Spontaneous first-trimester miscarriage rates per woman among parous women with 1 or more pregnancies of 24 weeks or more - https://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-017-1620-1
- Roberta Castellani, Esther Diana Rossi, June 2017; The chromosome analysis of the miscarriage tissue. Miscarried embryo/fetal crown rump length (CRL) measurement: A practical use - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5467807/
- NHS, What happens: Miscarriage - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/what-happens/