After miscarriage, women need time to recover both mentally and physically. One aspect of physical recovery is a change in menstruation and ovulation. In many cases, women ovulate as early as two to four weeks after a miscarriage. Menstruation also depends on a few factors, but periods generally return about four to six weeks after a miscarriage.
Factors that affect menstruation after miscarriage
The first menstrual period after a pregnancy loss can be different from a woman’s normal period, and it can also be quite delayed. It’s also common for women to notice some spotting for four or more weeks after a miscarriage, so it’s important to recognize what is a menstrual period, and what is intermittent bleeding.
Two factors in particular influence a woman’s period after she has a miscarriage.
- Hormone levels: In the beginning of pregnancy, the placenta starts producing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone that helps the body support a fertilized egg. The purpose of hCG is to stimulate progesterone hormone secretion from the ovary. Progesterone helps maintain a pregnancy and prevents menstruation from occurring. After a miscarriage, hCG production declines because the placenta is no longer present, resulting in a decline in progesterone levels. Menstruation resumes once a woman’s hCG levels are back to zero.
- Length of gestation: If a woman experiences miscarriage early on in pregnancy, she’ll likely start menstruating again sooner than someone who miscarries later in pregnancy. The body needs a certain amount of time to heal depending on how far along the pregnancy was.
What is menstruation like after miscarriage?
Characteristics of menstruation can vary greatly from woman to woman after a miscarriage. The first period after a miscarriage is often heavier than what women normally experience. It also might cause noticeable cramping, and be slightly more clotted than usual. Some women, however, experience a first period after a miscarriage that is lighter than normal and cramp-free.
When can women start trying again?
In the past, healthcare providers have recommended waiting three or so months after a miscarriage before trying to conceive, but recent research supports the idea that it’s healthy to conceive in the cycle after a miscarriage as long as the woman is medically recovered and psychologically ready. Different healthcare providers will have different opinions on when it’s safe and healthy to try to conceive again, so you should ask your provider for their opinion.
Managing emotions during this time
Women cope with miscarriages in a variety of ways, and feeling confused after a miscarriage is very common. Some want to start trying again right away, while others feel extremely apprehensive about another pregnancy. There is no right or wrong way to feel. It is important for women to understand that they are not alone and seeking support from a partner, friends, or family during this time can be very helpful. Women who are more comfortable opening up to a professional may want to consider asking their healthcare providers for mental health counselor recommendations.
It may be difficult to express how you are feeling, but isolating oneself or blaming oneself can make the grieving process more difficult in the long run. Many partners of those who experience pregnancy loss also go through emotional difficulties, which can present in different ways. Having an honest conversation with your partner about how he or she is feeling can be a helpful way to get everything out in the open, and allow you to better empathize with one another about the experience.
The bottom line: Things to know
It takes some time to physically recover after a miscarriage. What is considered a ‘normal’ recovery from miscarriage can range greatly – some women do not spot at all afterwards, while others may experience spotting for four or more weeks after. There are also a few different factors that affect when a woman will start menstruating again. Some women start menstruation again as early as four weeks after their miscarriage, while others take longer. Regardless, weekly checkups or a two- or six-week checkup after the miscarriage is usually recommended, depending on the individual situation, to help women and their providers ensure a healthy physical and emotional recovery.
- Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow. “Irregular Periods after Miscarriage: What You Need to Know.” Parents. Meredith Corporation, 2014. Web.
- Check Pregnancy Staff. “Period After a Miscarriage – 5 Things You Should Know About.” CheckPregnancy.com. Check Pregnancy, Aug 18 2015. Web.
- Fernanda Moore. “Healing After Miscarriage.” Parenting. Meredith Corporation, 2014. Web.
- “Periods after Miscarriage.” Newhealthguide. Newhealthguide, Aug 15 2016. Web.