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How to Miscarry Naturally (From Someone Who’s Done It Twice)

Are you wondering what to expect during a miscarriage – what it feels and looks like? Are you hoping to miscarry naturally so you don’t have to go to the hospital? I can help! This blog post will help you know what to expect when you miscarry naturally and provide some useful tips for preparing for and handling a miscarriage at home.

sad woman sitting on a couch

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I have experienced two miscarriages. One was at 10 weeks and 3 days. The other was on the day I would have been 13 weeks. 

If you are experiencing or have experienced a miscarriage, I understand the loss. I understand the heartache, the tears, the grief. I understand the anxiety, the ups and downs, the wondering, the search for understanding and peace.

You are not alone. 

Part of my goal with this blog post is to help you feel that you are not alone in what you’ve experienced. In fact, more women than you probably realize have been through the devastating experience of miscarriage. 

That doesn’t minimize your experience. But hopefully it does help you feel a little less lonely.

Don’t Be Afraid

My main goal in writing this blog post is to help women who have discovered they are having a miscarriage to not be afraid. 

Miscarriage is not something to be feared. Mourned, grieved, talked about, yes. But not feared.

Miscarriage is birth. It’s just a birth, a stillbirth, that occurs very, very prematurely. Because miscarriage is a birth, we can have the same confidence in our body’s ability to complete the process – to do what needs to be done and do it without complication. 

So what I want to do today is help you gain that confidence and let go of the fear by helping you know what to expect and by giving you practical tips to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

What to Expect When You Miscarry Naturally

When your baby dies within the womb during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, you have three options:

  1. to miscarry naturally (i.e. let your body empty your uterus on it’s own),
  2. to take medicines to help the natural process happen sooner, or
  3. to have a surgical process done to remove everything from your uterus.

None of those choices is more correct or appropriate than the others. It is up to you, depending on your preferences and circumstances.

With both of my miscarriages, I chose to miscarry naturally at home. (I also gave birth to my daughter at home.) While both of my miscarriages were similar in some ways, they were, overall, quite different.

That is how miscarriage is – it’s rarely the same for two pregnancies or two women. But there are things you can expect, most of the time, if you miscarry naturally. That is what I’ll share with you.

In the rest of this blog post, I discuss in detail and in no uncertain terms what I felt, saw, and experienced as I miscarried naturally at home.

Expect Bleeding Beforehand

Often, the first sign of miscarriage is bleeding. You may see tiny spots of pink, red, or brown as you wipe. Or you might have to wear a liner or a pad to contain the blood.

Not all bleeding during pregnancy means you are having a miscarriage. But if you haven’t recently had a cervical check, had sex, or otherwise irritated or stimulated your cervix, bleeding may be an indicator of a pending miscarriage.

With my first miscarriage, bleeding started and stayed consistent for about a week before I miscarried. It wasn’t heavy – just about enough to fill a daily liner. And it wasn’t dark red, just a pinky color.

With my second miscarriage, I noticed a few tiny spots of pink blood as I wiped about a week and a half before I miscarried. Then 3 days before I miscarried, I started to bleed enough to need a liner. I had one big gush of blood and then it was only enough to fill a daily liner until after I had started to actually pass tissue.

Expect Cramps or Contractions

Because your uterus needs to get the baby, the placenta, and any other tissue out of your uterus, you will experience cramping sensations. Some women describe these sensations as feeling like period cramps. Others (often women who have given birth before) describe them as feeling like labor contractions.

I experienced both. With my first miscarriage, I had a tiny bit of light cramping the day the bleeding started but don’t remember feeling much cramping other than that, even on the day I actually miscarried. 

With my second miscarriage, it was like a mini labor. I started getting intense cramps around dinner time and they got stronger throughout the evening until they felt like full-on contractions. I had to relax and breathe through them to handle it. 

Then the three contractions right before everything started to come out were incredibly painful – more painful than I remember them ever being while giving birth to my daughter. I don’t know if it’s because I was lying down for some of them or if, maybe, I wasn’t relaxed enough. 

But after that, after I started to actually pass the tissue, the sensations were more like period cramps again and were totally manageable.

Expect to Spend a Lot of Time in the Bathroom

Most women who miscarry naturally at home spend a lot of time on the toilet. Like during labor, sitting on the toilet helps your body open up and let things out.

Plus, if you are sitting on the toilet, you don’t have to clean up nearly as much because most of the blood and tissue will go right into the toilet.

During my second miscarriage, I spent most of the time in the bathroom while I was actually miscarrying. In between feeling like something was about to come out, I laid on the floor with a towel underneath me. This was largely because I felt nauseous and faint so I didn’t feel like I could go far.

My husband sat next to me the whole time, letting me lean on him while I was on the toilet and getting me whatever I needed while I was on the floor.

I hadn’t been wearing pants since contractions had picked up. And at this point, I wasn’t wearing anything but a shirt. It’s just easier that way.

By the way, it’s normal (during birth and miscarriage) to have to poop. Your body is still performing its normal functions. Plus you’ve got lots of pressure down there so it’s bound to empty more than your uterus.

Expect Indistinct Tissue

Because you have been growing a little baby for weeks or months, you’d probably expect to see a little baby when you miscarry. That may or may not be the case.

Some women do clearly see a tiny baby’s body, fully formed. And some women see what is clearly a placenta and an umbilical cord.

But some women don’t.

It’s actually quite common for your body to start to break down the placenta and your baby’s body after your baby’s heart has stopped beating. For this reason – and, I think, because of divine mercy – it’s likely that you will just see large blood clots or pieces of tissue that look more like reddish blobs than a body.

With my first miscarriage, I don’t know for sure when I actually delivered the baby. I think it was something that came first and looked like a large blood clot (a clump of dark red tissue and blood).

I clearly saw the placenta though. (You can see a picture at the bottom of this blog post, if you wish.) It was smaller than my palm and had a portion of a cord still attached.

With my second miscarriage, I think I delivered the placenta first. There was a lot of blood in the toilet (which I’ll talk about next) and I decided not to reach in and pull it out, so I didn’t see what it looked like or if that’s what it was for sure.

Over the next few hours, I delivered a few more big pieces of tissue. Most were indistinct and may have been umbilical cord, blood clot, or a somewhat deteriorated baby’s body.

If you want to read more about what you might see, depending on when you miscarry, check out this article: What really happens during a miscarriage.

Expect Blood – Lots of It

One of the things that can be scariest when it comes to miscarriage is blood loss. To explain what it might be like, I’ll rely on my experiences again.

With my first miscarriage, I had been bleeding fairly lightly for a week. On Sunday, I sat on the toilet and felt something come out, more than blood, I think. Bleeding stayed about the same after that.

A few hours later, I delivered the placenta, as I explained above. But again, the bleeding didn’t get very heavy, just enough to need a pad for a few days. 

With my second miscarriage, I experienced very heavy bleeding. That is normal, but needs to be monitored carefully. After I felt what I think was the placenta come out, I started bleeding a lot. It was a near constant flow. I sat on the toilet for a while then I soaked through two large pads really quickly.

I called my midwife and she reassured me that it probably looked like more blood than it actually was AND that I could lose more blood than I probably thought before it was dangerous. That (and my husband’s ability to remain totally calm) helped soothe my worries.

After delivering a few more pieces of tissue, the bleeding started to slow. From then until the next weekend, the bleeding slowed and nearly stopped. 

Usually, the bleeding will taper off after a week or two and not get heavier again.

That said, for some reason, I started bleeding heavily again the Saturday after I miscarried. It was likely because of a bit of retained tissue that needed to be pushed out. That happens occasionally and may resolve on its own or may require surgical removal.

When to Go to the Hospital

While most women can miscarry naturally at home without danger, occasionally it will be necessary to go to the hospital. Generally there are 3 reasons you may need to go to the hospital:

  • You bleed through 2 pads or more in one hour, for two or more hours
  • You develop a fever
  • You feel faint

Keep in mind that you will bleed heavily for the first minutes and hours but then it will usually slow significantly. Also remember that feeling faint doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go in.

I felt very faint after a few hours of contractions and blood loss, but I chose not to go anywhere. 

My husband and I felt good about staying home and he was able to help me feel well again. He made me food and drinks to keep me hydrated and get my blood sugar and blood levels back up. After that, a few hours of sleep, and breakfast, I felt fine. 

Expect Chills and Nausea

Some women feel nauseous or get chills during a miscarriage. Some don’t.

It’s okay if you do. Just do what you need to feel comfortable (I put a sweatshirt on and laid on the bathroom floor) and be mindful. 

Pay attention to your body and take note if nausea gets worse, if you can’t get a feeling of faintness to go away, or if you feel feverish. If you feel you need medical care, have someone take you to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic. 

Expect a Time of Healing

After a miscarriage, give yourself time to heal, physically and emotionally. Rest for a few days. Take a few days off work and cancel plans. Don’t try to do too much.

It will likely be a bit of a roller coaster, with good days and hard days. 

Some women may feel better after just a few weeks. Some women may take much longer to feel okay again. Both are normal. If you need extra support, reach out to trusted family and friends and/or consider joining a pregnancy loss support group or meeting with a therapist. 

Tips for Managing a Miscarriage Naturally

While experiencing a miscarriage will never be easy, there are things you can do to make the process a little easier for yourself.

Especially if you know your baby has died but you’re still waiting for the miscarriage to actually begin, here are some things you can do to prepare to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

Buy a pack of heavy pads.

You don’t want to be caught without a pad big enough to contain those first hours and days of heavy bleeding, so buy a pack of heavy or overnight pads.

Put some underwear in the bathroom.

Chances are, you’ll get blood on your underwear. While you are in the middle of the miscarriage and for the first day or two after, it’ll make it easier to change if you keep a few pairs of underwear in the bathroom. 

Get some hydrogen peroxide.

Because you’re bound to get blood on your underwear, towels, and clothes, hydrogen peroxide is going to be your friend. It’s like magic when it comes to getting blood out of clothes. (Just use it sooner rather than later if you want to avoid a stain.)

Make a bleeding tincture.

My mother-in-law, who also experienced some intense miscarriages, gave me a recipe for a bleeding tincture. It’s made of 4 natural ingredients that are good for lots of maladies, including basic colds and other sicknesses.

In the case of bleeding, using cold water and mixing in these 4 ingredients can help your body stop bleeding faster. I don’t know if it directly made a difference for me or not, but I was grateful to know I was doing something to encourage the bleeding to slow.

I started drinking the tincture as soon as I felt the contractions getting intense and bleeding was picking up a little.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey (melt in a bit of warm water before adding)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (as much as you can tolerate)
  • 1 cup cold water

Make about a quart (3-4 times the recipe) at a time and sip it throughout the hours before and after your miscarriage.

Get a silicone straw.

This is obviously a less significant one but silicone straws are great for any recovery period. I used mine after giving birth and after my miscarriage to make it easier to drink smoothies and other drinks while reclining. 

Stock up on juice and easy snacks.

After an intense physical experience like miscarriage, and after blood loss, you need to get nutrients into your body quickly. Juice is a quick way to get your blood sugar up.

Snacks like yogurt, granola, and smoothies are easy to eat and give you the nutrients and energy you need.

Buy chlorophyll and blood builder.

After losing so much blood, you’ll need to replenish it. Your body knows how but it will appreciate a little help. I was grateful to have two things leftover from previous pregnancies that helped with this – chlorophyll and a blood builder supplement.

Chlorophyll is a plant extract. My mother-in-law calls it “plant blood.” Because of the nutrients and compounds it contains, it boosts blood production both during pregnancy and after.

Blood builder (this is the brand my midwife had me use) contains iron and other vitamins and minerals needed to boost your blood levels. 

Put a mattress near the bathroom.

If your bed isn’t close to your toilet, like mine wasn’t in my small apartment, put a mattress (or air mattress) near the bathroom. You’ll be tired and you may be faint. Especially if it’s the middle of the night, it will be nice to be close to the bathroom so the trip is short while you are recovering in the hours immediately after.

Make sure your husband is there to help.

I’m sure women have done it but I don’t know how anyone goes through a miscarriage alone. My second one was super intense and I couldn’t have done it without my husband there to help. I needed his help particularly because I was so faint, but even if you’re not, make sure you’re not alone.

Gather some old towels.

To avoid getting blood on your floor or bed, get your oldest towels out for a layer of protection. If you get a lot of blood on them, you can just throw them out. If it’s not too much, hydrogen peroxide should get them clean.

Expect it to happen at night.

While it’s not true for everyone, it’s likely that you will miscarry at night. I think God designed our bodies so that, if left alone, most of the time they will labor – either for a full-term birth or a miscarriage – when the sun goes down.

Of course, I wouldn’t count on this. Be ready with pads and a willingness to cancel plans in case you miscarry in the middle of the day. But be assured that it’s likely to happen at home when the day is coming to an end.

My first miscarriage started around noon but mostly happened that evening. My second happened in the middle of the night.

Don’t be ashamed to flush.

You may wonder what to do after you deliver the placenta, body, or other tissues of a miscarriage. It can feel weird to flush. You may wonder if that’s insensitive or inappropriate.

Rest assured, many women choose to flush after a miscarriage, even without pulling anything out to look. I experienced some shame for flushing but eventually realized it’s a normal thing to do and that it isn’t irreverent or wrong. 

If you prefer, you can get off the toilet to deliver everything or pull it out of the toilet. You may choose to bury it. Whatever you feel is best, do that. 

Conclusion: Not Lost Forever

I know what it’s like to experience a miscarriage. I know what it’s like to know it’s coming and know there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s not something I would wish on anyone.

The best advice I can give you is 1) don’t be afraid and 2) let yourself feel.

You now know what to expect if you want to miscarry naturally. You know what it might feel like and look like. And, over all, you know your body knows how to handle a miscarriage, just like it knows how to handle birth. So you don’t need to be afraid.

As far as emotions go, it’s not easy, but it will only be harder if you try not to feel anything.

Let yourself grieve. Let yourself be happy when you feel good. Accept the ups and downs. Take a moment or a day when you need to. Talk about it when you want to. Keep it in your heart when you don’t.

You will feel peace and happiness again. 

I want you to know that you are seen. You are a mother. And I promise that your babies – our babies – are not lost forever. They are in the hands of One who loves them even more than we do.

I don’t know how it all works out but I know it does.

Until next time,

Allison

READ MORE:

How to Prepare for a Home Birth in 7 Steps

How to Prepare for Postpartum: The Ultimate Guide

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