How long does a miscarriage last?

Did you know that between 10% and 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage? An insane figure for a subject that is still too taboo. Because let's say it: this ordeal upsets the women and couples who go through it. It arouses a lot of emotion and raises a flood of questions, including this one: how long does a miscarriage last? In this article, we are going to redefine this term (because at Boome, we don't like it very much, and we prefer to talk about "arrested pregnancy"). We will also talk to you about the risk factors, and give you some advice to follow if this happens to you. Here we go.

Understanding miscarriage

What is a miscarriage and why does it occur?

A miscarriage (or spontaneous termination) occurs when the development of a fetus stops within a few weeks of pregnancy, sometimes a few months. It becomes non-viable, and the body expels it. Most spontaneous miscarriages result from a chromosomal abnormality in the embryo. But we can also note other risk factors such as:

  • certain medical conditions in the mother;
  • pregnancy complications;
  • infections;
  • lifestyle factors (smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, etc.).

Early and late miscarriage: What are the differences?

According to the May app, early miscarriage represents a little more than 10% of pregnancies. This occurs before the 12th week of pregnancy, i.e. during the first three months of pregnancy. It happens that it is confused with rules, and that it goes unnoticed. Late miscarriage, which affects less than 1% of cases, is much rarer. It occurs between the 12th and 20th week of pregnancy, or between the 3rd and 5th month.

Symptoms and warning signs

During the first weeks of pregnancy, knowing how to recognize the signs of a spontaneous miscarriage can help you understand your body, and how to respond better should it happen to you.

Typical symptoms of a miscarriage

Signs of a spontaneous miscarriage can vary, but often include:

  • vaginal bleeding (mild or severe);
  • abdominal pain;
  • pelvic cramps similar to menstruation;
  • the complete expulsion of the embryo through the vagina.

The disappearance of pregnancy symptoms (nausea, sore breasts, etc.) can also be a warning sign to take into account.

This article may also interest you: How to know if you are having a miscarriage?

Bleeding and cramps: How to recognize them and differentiate them from normal periods?

Bleeding from spontaneous miscarriages looks like light spotting at first, then more heavy discharge. They are sometimes accompanied by blood clots, unlike a normal period which is characterized by a more predictable and constant flow. Cramps associated with termination of pregnancy are often located in the back and lower abdomen. Note that they are more severe than usual period pain.

Ectopic pregnancy: How to distinguish it from a miscarriage

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube. This can lead, in the first weeks of pregnancy, to symptoms similar to those of a miscarriage (such as vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain). This situation requires urgent clinical examination to prevent serious complications.

When should you consult a healthcare professional?

We strongly recommend consulting a healthcare professional if:

  • you notice vaginal bleeding;
  • you suffer from severe abdominal pain;
  • you suspect a pregnancy terminated for any reason.

In fact, even in the event of mild symptoms, do not hesitate to contact your medical team. Your treating gynecologist will help you assess the situation, exclude other complications, and above all... reassure you!

How long does a miscarriage last?

The duration of miscarriages can vary greatly from one pregnant woman to another, depending on the stage of pregnancy and the body's reaction.

Early miscarriages tend to last shorter. They tend to last a few days, with a spontaneous expulsion of fetal tissue more quickly than for a late termination of pregnancy. In this second case, the process can be longer and more complex. It sometimes requires medical intervention with general anesthesia to help the woman expel the embryo. She may notice bleeding for several weeks (or even a few months) after the operation.

Treatments and support

Miscarriage: Medical treatment with misoprostol

Misoprostol is a substance often used to manage miscarriages. It is administered to pregnant women orally or vaginally. This causes uterine contractions and facilitates the natural process of expulsion. The medical profession generally favors this treatment, because it remains non-invasive and very effective in the first weeks of pregnancy.

Miscarriage: Surgical treatment by endouterine aspiration

Endouterine aspiration is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia. Health professionals use it when there is no spontaneous expulsion of the embryo. The doctor removes the fetal tissue using a special device, which minimizes the risk of infection and leads to rapid healing.

Can miscarriage be prevented? Preventive measures

We would like to tell you the opposite, but unfortunately, preventing a termination of pregnancy is not always possible. Especially in the case of a genetic anomaly. However, you can reduce the risks. To do this, we will not surprise you much by advising:

  • to adopt a healthy lifestyle;
  • to avoid harmful substances (alcohol, cigarettes, etc.);
  • not to neglect your pre-existing medical conditions;
  • to have regular prenatal follow-up.

Early consultation, among other things, makes it possible to identify and treat certain risk factors. So don't miss out!

After a miscarriage

The emotional aspect: How to cope with loss and overcome grief

Suffering a miscarriage means facing perinatal bereavement, and therefore experiencing a very personal process. So above all, don't stay alone: ​​seek support from your loved ones, dedicated groups, or health professionals. Give yourself time to grieve, and acknowledge the loss. The emotions that accompany this ordeal are intense, and that's normal.

When can you get pregnant again after a miscarriage?

Doctors generally recommend waiting 1 to 3 menstrual cycles after a pregnancy loss before trying to conceive again. This period allows the body to recover, and the uterus to be ready for a new pregnancy.

The risks of infertility after a miscarriage

Rest assured: a spontaneous or triggered miscarriage, if it is unique, does not usually increase the risk of sterility. Most women can conceive again and carry a pregnancy to term. However, recurrent miscarriages may require a medical evaluation to identify possible underlying problems.

Pregnant after miscarriage

Precautions to take during a new pregnancy after a miscarriage

Are you starting a new pregnancy? Congratulations ! Above all, keep in mind that you are not responsible for your miscarriage. So just focus on a healthy lifestyle to best prepare your body for the 9 months ahead. You can possibly organize a medical consultation with your midwife if this can reassure you. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself to “succeed” in this new pregnancy!

Pssst! At Boome, we also take care of you after childbirth with our postpartum products .

Having a terminated pregnancy remains an ordeal that can be extremely difficult. This is a real loss for many pregnant women. So if this is your case, and you have suffered early miscarriages or repeated miscarriages: know that your emotions are legitimate. And the support of your loved ones and your doctors can really help you get through this intense time. Always remember one thing: you are not alone.

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