Any pregnancy which terminates on its own is called miscarriage. It is very common in early pregnancy, before 12 weeks. Very early ones often go unnoticed, as women are yet to realize that they are pregnant. In such cases, the body cleans the uterus on its own. The remnants of terminated pregnancy are flushed out of uterus during the very next period. This process ensures that the body comes back on track so that it can start regulating its reproductive function again. This natural cleaning is required to prevent the body from becoming infected. Given the complexity of all the above processes, the first period after miscarriage is often very different from what you might expect.
When to Expect?
A miscarriage may throw your menstrual cycle completely off the track. You may bleed for a whole month following the mishap, or you may not menstruate for months. The timing for the next cycle depends upon your individual condition. Many women experience light or heavy vaginal discharge at all times after they lose the fetus. It may disappear for a few days, only to return. However, this bleeding should not be assumed for a normal period. It could only be the result of the cleaning process of the body.
There are certain conditions that need to be satisfied for your cycle to resume. The hCG levels, which, after losing the fetus, have elevated during pregnancy, need to fall to zero. Similarly, the estrogen levels should reach a threshold value. In simple words, you should not have any spotting for 20 consecutive days after miscarriage bleeding. The period that you get anytime after these 20 spotting free days can be considered as the true one. You can expect this to arrive at anytime after 4 to 6 weeks of the incident.
What to Expect?
If you usually get light periods, this one may be characterized by very heavy bleeding and vice versa. Similarly, severe cramping may or may not accompany menstruation. Some women also complain of blood clots during this time. The period may last for 4 to 7 days. However, one must note that, this is highly individual specific. Similarly, the first cycle after a natural miscarriage may also differ from first period after abortion. Hence, it is very difficult to predict its characteristics, when it will arrive, and how long will it last. What seems normal for one woman may not be for other. Hence, if you experience very heavy bleeding or severe cramping, it is a must that you see your OB-GYN right away.
Since now you know that menstruation after such an incident is highly unpredictable in all aspects, you need to allow sufficient time for your body to heal completely. The first period after that, therefore, should be handled with even more care, as the body may have become very fragile after D&C. You should not rush into trying for baby at once. Moreover, unprotected sexual intercourse is also not recommended after the incident, as the cervix is open at this time, hence is susceptible to various infections. Ideally, couples should let two normal menstrual cycles pass after a miscarriage, before they start trying again. This gives body the required amount of time to heal completely. Similarly, the hormones also start functioning normally by this time.
This time is also a time for an emotional upheaval, as you might be constantly reminded of your lost pregnancy. However, it is important to take good care of yourself during this time, to prepare your body to handle future pregnancies to full term.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.