Medically, miscarriage is considered a minor event not requiring professional monitoring - consequently most miscarriages happen in places away from hospitals. Like birth, after a full term pregnancy, miscarriage can take anywhere from a few minutes to hours, days or even weeks to unfold. Miscarriage is often shocking and can be very frightening especially when the pain level is beyond anything you have experienced before and the amount of blood loss seems too large an amount to survive. Miscarriage is very seldom fatal however always check with your medical professional and take note of what is happening. See the following suggestions:
- Ring your medical professional or local
hospital and describe your symptoms. Ask any questions you may
have, write a list before you ring. Although no intervention
can save your baby your medical caregiver needs to know what
is happening so that:
a. you receive appropriate follow up care
b. it goes on your medical record
- Ask others for help. You need someone to be with you and take you to hospital or for professional help. Never drive if you are having a miscarriage as you can lose consciousness. How someone else can help you
- If you are alone and things are happening fast, dial 111 (in NZ) for an ambulance. There is a fee for this service.
- To relieve pain take paracetamol (not aspirin), lie down and place a hot water-bottle on your stomach. Miscarriage pain is usually like a bad period pain or birth contractions. The intensity of the pain anyone will experience is individual to that person. If you are not coping with your pain level, please phone for medical help.
- To soak up the blood use sanitary pads or even towels. Keep a count of how many you use for determining blood loss. Do not use tampons.
- If bleeding becomes heavy i.e.persistent bleeding filling more than one sanitary pad in half an hour and you start passing pieces of placenta which look like blood clots or liver, squat over a clean container so you can save everything to be seen by your medical professional. (You may also see the foetus.) It could be sent for testing. You may ask for everything back for burial/cremation.
- If you lose so much blood that you faint or go into shock, you need help urgently. Have your support person ring for medical help. Arrangements should be made for you to be admitted to hospital. If a car is used, lie down on your side on the back seat (the most comfortable position, also reduces blood flow) and take extra towels with you. Call an ambulance if no car is available.
- Have your support person pack a bag with 2 nighties,underwear dressing gown, slippers, toilet kit with toothbrush and paste, face cloth, soap and sanitary pads.
- As you may need a D&C, do not eat or drink. Your stomach must be empty for the anaesthetic.
- If you have other children or pets, have your support person make arrangements for their care.
- For those who don't go to hospital, once
the miscarriage is over, ring your medical professional or the
hospital to let them know you have miscarried. It is important
that you are examined to determine whether or not the miscarriage
is complete. You may be sent for a scan to confirm the findings.
Remaining unpassed tissue can cause infection with serious consequences.