7 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor After a Miscarriage

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Image adapted via Flickr/ fromcolettewithlove

When that pregnancy test turns positive, so many things run through our minds. For me, that sign was long-awaited and while I was nervous about motherhood, I had so many things I was looking forward to experiencing. One experience that wasn't on my running list was the pain and heartache from a miscarriage. Life had other plans and while I am very lucky to have my children, our path to become their parents was marked by multiple miscarriages.

The latest statistics say that a miscarriage, which is medically defined as when a baby dies while in the womb in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, happens – on average – in about 10-15 percent of pregnancies. So, while statistically miscarriages happen relatively often, we're never prepared when it happens to us — I wasn't. And being prepared for what's to come next, can really be an afterthought.

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I have been through 12 miscarriages and am thankful I had the help of a kind and supportive doctor watching over my care. Having medical care during and after a miscarriage is very important for your health and can play a big part in your pregnancy journey.

If you've had a miscarriage, I am so sorry for your loss. If you've just had your miscarriage diagnosed there are some important questions to ask your doctor to ensure you're getting the best care and the best information for healing.

1. What happened?

There isn't always an answer for why a pregnancy ended too soon, but for many women that I've talked to about their own miscarriage, they want to know the “why.” Sometimes they want to know the reason — to find out if it was something they did that caused the loss, if it was something they need to be aware of in case it may happen again, and sometimes, in my own experience, you just want to give the whole thing some context. So, even if your doctor says, “I don't know why it happened,” there is comfort in knowing it wasn't your fault.

2. What signs or symptoms should I watch for at home that may need medical care?

Anytime a pregnancy ends early, there are risks for complications, and a miscarriage is no exception. Asking your doctor if there are any signs you need to keep an eye out for — from extra blood loss to depression — is a very important follow up question.

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3. What should I expect after a miscarriage, physically and emotionally?

Some women are surprised to find out exactly what a miscarriage feels like or how long those symptoms will be present. Others are surprised with how they feel emotionally, so knowing what to expect or a range of possibilities can ease the mind.

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Image via Flickr/ tedeytan

4. When should we investigate the cause / should there be further testing?

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There are some medical conditions, environmental conditions, or genetics which could play into the cause of a miscarriage. If you have any markers or if you've experienced more than two miscarriages in a row, your doctor may want to do some extra medical testing to investigate the cause if it's not already known. Each case and each doctor has their own guidelines for when investigations into the “why” becomes very important.

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5. When can we proceed with trying to conceive?

The length of time it takes to physically heal varies for each woman so this is a very important question to ask. Make sure you understand the reason for any wait time so you don't jump back into it before you're medically ready.

6. What are my odds of a healthy subsequent pregnancy?

This question can ease a lot of worries and fears, or it can indicate if there may be ongoing issues. Either way, this important question can set your next pregnancy up with the right support and resources to give the pregnancy its best chance to thrive.

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7. Can you recommend a local resource or support group?

A miscarriage does not always end when the medically physical symptoms go away. Taking care of the emotional aspect of healing is vital to overall health and an indication of a caring, supportive doctor.

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Have you suffered a miscarriage? Which question was most important for you?

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7 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor After a Miscarriage

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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