Your Period After Miscarriage: Here’s What to Expect
Most women experience spotting and irregular periods after miscarriage. Here’s when your cycle should return to normal, and when you can expect to ovulate again.
No woman expects to encounter miscarriage while attempting to expand her family. Although miscarriage is a fairly common occurrence—it happens in roughly one out of every five known pregnancies—its frequency makes it no less painful. But whether you’re trying for another baby right away or waiting until things calm down, there’s one question you’re likely to have: When will I get my first period after miscarriage? We’ve got the answers.
Bleeding After Miscarriage
After a miscarriage, your body expels the contents of your uterus. Early miscarriages (which happen within the first few weeks of pregnancy) will look and feel a lot like a regular period. Miscarriages around 6 to 7 weeks will resemble a particularly heavy period. Later miscarriages are more severe, since your uterus has to flush out more fetal tissue and possibly some placenta.
Persistent spotting could last for weeks and should lighten up over time, but if it doesn't, call your OB-GYN. "If you have a couple of days of no bleeding, heavy bleeding, then no bleeding, then heavy, there's likely something in the uterus," says Siobhan Dolan, M.D., a medical advisor to the March of Dimes and an attending physician in the Division of Reproductive Genetics at Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, in New York City.
Dr. Dolan adds, "See your doctor—she'll likely conduct an ultrasound to get a picture of what's going on and see if there's a clot or tissue." Most doctors prefer to let the body see the miscarriage through naturally, but your OB-GYN may need to perform a procedure called a dilation and curettage (D&C) to remove any remnants.
When Will My Period Return?
Your first period after miscarriage will be unpredictable. Menstruation will definitely look different than before— a heavier flow, some spotting, or nothing at all—as your body recovers.
Just know that your cycle should return to normal within two months, although it can also happen sooner, says Dr. Zev Williams, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Program for Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (PEARL) at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. During this timeframe, the uterine lining should go back to its pre-pregnancy state, and your levels of pregnancy hormone hCG will also drop.
Also note that if your cycle was irregular before, you can count on an unpredictable cycle after recovering from a miscarriage too. But if your periods came like clockwork before the pregnancy, but they remain unpredictable a few months after a miscarriage, contact your OBGYN. She may give you progesterone (a hormone) to clean out your uterine lining, or put you on birth-control pills to regulate your cycle.
Ovulation After Miscarriage
Most women start ovulating again within one to two months after miscarrying. However, it’s possible to begin ovulating within two weeks of a miscarriage if it happened during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
Ovulation means pregnancy is possible, so take the proper precautions. Dr. Dolan recommends waiting a few months before you try to get pregnant again. The time off can help you figure out exactly when you're ovulating and give you an opportunity to heal from the loss.
What’s more, you can have a false positive pregnancy test soon after a miscarriage, since your body might still contain levels of hCG. The doctor might also falsely think you’re miscarrying for a second time if he detects these dropping hCG levels during prenatal tests.