98 Pregnancy and Childbir th
Loss of a pregnancy (miscarriage)
A miscarriage is a pregnancy that ends
by itself before the baby is fully developed.
It is often the body’s way of ending a
pregnancy when the unformed baby has
a serious problem that would have kept it
from developing well. Most miscarriages
happen in the first 3 months of pregnancy.
After a miscarriage, a woman can still
become pregnant again and have a normal
pregnancy and a healthy baby.
The signs of miscarriage are pain and
bleeding. (For more information on other
possible causes, see page 234.) The
bleeding and pain usually begin like
normal monthly bleeding and then get
heavier and stronger. There may also be
some tissue or clots with the blood.
emptying the womb
If the bleeding and pain continue for more than
a few days, if the bleeding is much heavier than normal monthly
bleeding, or if a woman gets a fever or has a bad-smelling fluid
from her vagina, part of the pregnancy may still be inside the
womb. This is called an incomplete miscarriage. It can lead to
heavy blood loss, a dangerous infection, or even death.The
woman should go to a health center or hospital where a trained
health worker can empty the womb.
If a woman has strong, constant
pain in her lower abdomen, she
may have a pregnancy in the tube.
This is very dangerous (see page 73).
After a miscarriage a woman
should rest and avoid heavy work
or lifting for 2 weeks. She should
not douche or wash inside her
vagina. Also she should avoid sex
until all bleeding stops because her
womb is still open and could get
A woman who wants
children may feel very sad
if she loses a pregnancy.
Many women feel very sad after
a miscarriage. Some do not. This is
all normal. Some women may find
it helpful to talk with other women
who have lost a pregnancy.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012