Miscarriages are very traumatic events that occur in about 10-20% of known pregnancies, according to The Mayo Clinic. However, they suggest the number is actually higher because many miscarriages happen so early in a pregnancy that a woman might not even realize she’s pregnant yet.
There are two types of recovery that need to happen after a miscarriage: Physical and emotional. From a physical perspective, the body starts recuperating almost immediately, but the emotional recovery may take much, much longer.
Let’s start off by looking at when to expect your first period after a miscarriage. Understanding why miscarriages happen and how the body recovers is an important step toward emotional recovery.
It Can Take Four to Six Weeks to Get Your First Period After Miscarriage
Miscarriages tend to happen within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It’s the body’s reaction to a fetus that isn’t developing properly. Your body starts recovering almost immediately, but it can take a bit of time for your menstrual cycle to return back to normal.
You will usually have your first period about 4-6 weeks after a miscarriage. Your first period after a miscarriage might be a little different from your regular period.
What to Expect From Your First Period After a Miscarriage
Your body is still recovering for about a month after your miscarriage as your body’s hormones regulate themselves. So don’t be alarmed if you notice any of the following symptoms with your first period after a miscarriage:
- Discharge with a strong odor
- Heavier and longer period
- More painful than usual
After 2 or 3 cycles, your period should return to normal.
Ovulation After Miscarriage Can Occur Within 2 Weeks
You can start ovulating (and potentially get pregnant) only two weeks after a miscarriage, but ovulation after a miscarriage can be difficult to detect. There are some key symptoms you can learn to track or pay attention to help understand when to take an ovulation test:
- Basal body temperature changes: Your basal body temperature drops to 36.1°C (97°F)-36.4°C (97.5°F) before ovulation and rises to 36.4°C (97.6°F) - 37°C (98.6°F) 24 hours after ovulation.
- Wet and stretchy discharge: It’s often an egg white texture.
- Cervix softens: This is sometimes known as having a short, high, open, and wet cervix (SHOW).
- Slight cramping: According to the Mayo Clinic “Mittelschmerz pain occurs on the side of the ovary that's releasing an egg (ovulating).”
- Light spotting: When the egg is released, a tiny follicle ruptures to release the egg, which may result in some spotting.
- Increased sex-drive: Mother nature’s way of letting you know you’re at your most fertile.
Ovulation Test Kits
One of the best ways of knowing when you’re ovulating is to use an ovulation predictor kit (OPK). Getting pregnant is most likely to happen during the days around ovulation.
When you ovulate, there is a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) and these tests are designed to identify it. LH is at its highest about 24-36 hours before ovulation.
Knowing when ovulation is on the horizon is important for when you are trying to get pregnant again since sperm can survive in a woman’s body for up to 5 days.
Dealing With Pregnancy Loss
While your body might a relatively quick physical recovery after a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, it can potentially take a lot longer for you and your partner to recover emotionally. It’s important to give yourself the appropriate amount of time to grieve.
Be kind to yourself and be sure to take all the time you need to mourn your loss. There is no ‘set’ amount of time for this to happen, but if you’re having a particularly difficult time you may want to consider seeking professional grief counseling or therapy. This can be especially helpful to work through all the complex emotions you’re feeling.
Just remember that though you can definitely find comfort in talking to others about their experiences with miscarriage, it will be different for everyone so try to avoid comparing your experience to theirs. Make sure you’ve taken all the time you need to grieve before trying to conceive again. You’ll know when you’re emotionally ready to try for another pregnancy.
How to Know When You’re Ready for Pregnancy Again
From a physical perspective, you can get pregnant again as soon as you start ovulating again after a miscarriage. It helps to wait until your period starts again so you can more accurately calculate the date of a new pregnancy based on your menstrual cycle. Most doctors will recommend waiting until you’ve had 2 or 3 menstrual cycles.
Your healthcare provider will probably tell you to abstain from sex for two weeks after a miscarriage to prevent infection. Depending on the cause of your miscarriage they might make other specific recommendations about your care and when you should try again.
The WHO recommends waiting about 6 months before trying to conceive again. However, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists, there is no reason to wait that long for many women. When you feel like you’re ready to try to get pregnant again, always consult with your healthcare professional.
The Likelihood of Experiencing 2 or 3 Miscarriages in a Row Is Low
It can be scary to try to get pregnant again for fear that you’ll experience another miscarriage. Be rest assured, while this is possible, it’s unlikely: Just 2% of pregnant women experience two miscarriages in a row, and only about 1% have three consecutive pregnancy losses, according to USCFertility.
When to See a Doctor
So, what happens when things don’t return to normal right after a miscarriage? If it’s been more than a month or two and you haven’t experienced a period yet, take a pregnancy test as it is possible to become pregnant right after a miscarriage. Regardless of the outcome of the test, visit your doctor to discuss.
After some miscarriages, small amounts of tissue are left behind in the uterus and need to be removed. A doctor can remove the tissue via a minor surgery called dilation and curettage (D&C). This surgery is generally quite safe, however, as with all surgery, there’s a risk of complications. See you doctor ASAP if you notice any of the following symptoms after a D&C as it may be a sign of uterine infection, according to The Cleveland Clinic:
- Unusual or foul-smelling discharge
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive bleeding
- Excessive cramping