Post-miscarriage treatment focuses on preventing further blood loss or infection. Of course, the goal of therapy is different for women who have suffered a threatened miscarriage. In these cases, prevention of further complications is key and may include bed rest or a reduction of activity.
Treatment depends on the type of miscarriage and when in the pregnancy it occurred. If it was early, additional treatment isn't usually required because all of the fetal tissue is usually expelled by the body. When a woman has suffered an incomplete or missed miscarriage, a procedure known as a dilation and curettage, or D&C, is performed to retrieve the tissues from the womb and stop any further bleeding or infection.
If a woman is in the process of having an inevitable miscarriage, she can have a D&C or wait and let the miscarriage occur naturally. She can choose the latter option if she was in the first trimester of pregnancy, has no signs of infection and has stable vital signs. Her body will usually expel the tissues within two weeks. Patients who prefer to miscarry this way should return to their doctor to confirm that all the tissues have been expelled. Another option is medication that helps the uterus expel the pregnancy, which usually works within a few days.
Even though a live birth has not taken place, women do need to receive certain medications after a miscarriage that relate to the fetus. For example, if the mother and the fetus have incompatible blood types, this could cause complication in any later pregnancies. If the mother is Rh factor negative, she will receive a shot called RhoGAM, which works to prevent any blood-type interaction between the woman and her miscarried pregnancy. This will protect a future fetus. If the mother doesn't get the shot, her Rh-negative blood can cross over to the fetus and cause complications. Antibiotics are also often used to reduce the chance of infection or to fight a current infection. Finally, the mother could require medication if she has been bleeding for a prolonged period -- and she should also be aware of symptoms of an infection, which can occur as late as six weeks after the miscarriage. These signs include fever, severe pain, heavy bleeding and chills.
After a miscarriage a women is usually encouraged to avoid putting anything in the vagina, like tampons or douches. Also, sex is discouraged immediately following a miscarriage. However, contraception, including IUDs, can be used again immediately, and a woman's period usually returns within four to six weeks. Studies are not clear on a safe waiting period between a miscarriage and a new pregnancy, but doctors usually advise waiting two to three months.
Some miscarriages are simply unavoidable, but there are a few things that expectant mothers can do to avoid one. We'll discuss them in the next section.