Pregnancy Loss: Guiding You Through Miscarriage & Ectopic Pregnancy

We are deeply sorry for your loss.
You did nothing to cause this, and it is not your fault.

You have the right to grieve the loss of a pregnancy at any gestational age. Please know that there is no one, perfect way to walk through this process.

Loss affects everyone differently.
It is normal to feel unequipped to adequately support your child and your child’s partner
while also experiencing your own grief.

COMMON PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS FOLLOWING PREGNANCY LOSS

  • Milk production

  • Tender breasts

  • Uterine cramping

  • Spotting

  • Nausea/vomiting

  • Depression & anxiety

KNOW YOUR TREATMENT OPTIONS

  • No Medical Intervention - Let the natural process of miscarriage occur if still in first trimester. Although this will look different for everyone, here are examples of what you may experience:

    • Uncertain timeline. Process could take weeks.

    • Worse than heavy period symptoms with moderate to severe cramping.

    • May pass recognizable tissue if far enough along.

  • Medical - Medication is inserted into your vagina to cause uterine contractions.

    • If during the first trimester, this speeds up the miscarriage process and will result in a period with heavy bleeding.

    • If during the second trimester, this induces labor and will result in a vaginal delivery.

  • Surgical - Most likely one of the following procedures:

    • Dilation and Curettage (D&C) - Minor outpatient procedure done under anesthesia to dilate the cervical opening and gently remove the tissue within the uterus. Usually done in the first trimester.

    • Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) - Similar to a D&C, but done in the second trimester as an alternative to vaginal delivery. While you cannot see the baby, you may ask to receive hand & foot prints after the procedure in some cases.

      • Please note: arrangements may need to be made for cremation or burial.

    • Both a D&C and D&E give you the option of having the tissues tested to gain more information (e.g. chromosomal abnormalities and the sex of the baby).

IF YOUR PREGNANCY IS ECTOPIC (in your fallopian tube)

Unfortunately, with ectopic pregnancy, the danger to you is high and the pregnancy will not survive. Your treatment will be individualized according to your situation, but here is an idea of what may occur.

  • Doctor will monitor your health and progress for natural process of miscarriage.

  • Methotrexate injection(s) may be administered. This will stop rapidly growing cells, thus saving your fallopian tube.

  • If the pregnancy is too far along, you may need inpatient surgery to remove the pregnancy from your tube. Your tube may be repaired or removed.

IF TRANSFERRING TO ANOTHER HOSPITAL UNIT, WE RECOMMEND YOU CONSIDER:

  • Asking for what you need to feel comfortable (e.g. Are you warm enough? Would you like the room dark? Would you like your partner or friend to bring a blanket from home?).

  • Requesting a room far from other patients to ensure a quiet space.

  • Asking a nurse for a visit from the hospital’s non-denominational chaplain if you’d like a prayer said for you and your loss of pregnancy.

  • Ask hospital staff to recommend a local pregnancy loss support group.

Be kind to yourself.
It can be helpful to allow close relatives or friends to take care of your basic needs, such as meals, laundry, or cleaning. This gives you permission to focus on caring for yourself and grieving well.