Dealing With Miscarriage

womanAs many as 15% of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. The causes are varied and often not known. Some may not have intense grief. For others, the emotional recovery can take longer.


A miscarriage is a loss that can lead to strong grief. Grief is not just sadness but also includes anger, guilt, and feeling alone. It can make it hard to sleep, cause changes to your appetite, aches and pains, and sap your energy.

In general, grief has several stages:

  • Avoidance and disbelief : When faced with such an overwhelming loss, you may find yourself avoiding your feelings. You may have trouble accepting what has happened. Avoidance and disbelief allow you to break your grief down into more manageable pieces.
  • Pain : Your pain may show as a physical illness, forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating, depression, anger, or guilt. Try to remember that this pain is part of your grieving process. Eventually you will move through it.
  • Acceptance and adaptation : This doesn’t mean you will forget your child, but it does mean that you will find a way to move forward. You will reach a place of acceptance. The pain will ease. You will find a way to keep your baby’s memory in your life in a meaningful way. You can then move on toward a different future and a new dream.

These stages may not happen in order. You may even move back and forth through stages.

Recovering from the loss is a slow process. It is important for you to understand that grief is a very individual experience. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Be patient with yourself and don’t force your recovery. With support and time, you can heal. Keep in mind that both mother and father or partner may be grieving.


Grief can make you want to withdraw from others. You can easily end up isolating yourself, even from close family and friends. However, face to face time with loved ones is important as you grieve. Sharing your feelings can lighten your burden. However, just being with loved ones can help.

Accept offers of help. Some people may feel awkward or not know how to help. Know that they do care. Seek out spiritual support if it is a part of your life. Talk to your clergy or attend services.

Look for a support group for women that have had miscarriages. Being with others who have had similar losses may make you feel less alone. Grief counselors can also help you during your grief process. They have experience and knowledge of grief process that may make you feel more at ease.

Take Care of Yourself

Grief and stress can take a toll on your body. It may be hard to focus on daily tasks but it is important to try to look after your overall health:

  • Try to continue hobbies or regular activities.
  • Eat well. A poor diet can make you feel worse.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs to block emotions.

Grief or Depression

Your grief process will have many ups and downs. You can have happy moments during your grieving period. There may also be trigger days that intensify your grief. In general, with grief, the pain begins to lessen and you begin to return to normal life. However, with depression, the pain and bad feelings are constant or worsen. You will be unable to return to normal activities.

Other signs of depression include:

  • Intense guilt
  • Thoughts of suicide or obsession with dying
  • Feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Slow speech and body movements
  • Feeling disconnected for more than a few weeks
  • Have trouble trusting others

Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if you have signs of depression. Medicine and counseling can help in your recovery. Untreated depression can lead to a longer recovery, health complications, and an increased risk of suicide.


When you are ready, talk your doctor about your miscarriage. Let them know if you are planning a future pregnancy. There are many myths and “advice” from those around you about what causes a miscarriage. Work with your medical team to see what steps if any are best for you. Wasting your time and energy on nonessential changes can just add stress.


Office on Women's Health
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists


Women's Health Matters


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Updated August 2015. Accessed April 11, 2017.
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Repeated miscarriage. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at:
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Updated May 2016. Accessed April 11, 2017.
2/9/2012 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Lund M, Kamper-Jørgensen M, Nielsen HS, Lidegaard Ø, Andersen AM, Christiansen OB. Prognosis for live birth in women with recurrent miscarriage: what is the best measure of success? Obstet Gynecol. 2012;119(1):37-43.
Last reviewed April 2018 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 7/19/2018

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