Physical Recovery after the Loss

Expected recovery

  • It is normal to have vaginal bleeding for one to three weeks after a pregnancy loss. The bleeding can range from very light to more like a heavy period. It is also normal to pass blood clots in the first one to two weeks.
  • Most women experience slight cramping, similar to menstrual cramps. Cramping is usually worse in the first few days after the birth and should gradually resolve over the next two weeks. Applying a heating pad and taking an anti-inflammatory medication (like Motrin®) can help with the cramping.
  • You may resume normal activity when you feel able, usually a few days to a week after the loss.
  • Avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for at least a week or two.
  • Most women will have a period about four to eight weeks after a pregnancy loss. Your fertility can return immediately, so you must use birth control when you start having intercourse following a loss if you do not wish to become pregnant.
  • It is very important to see your provider for a follow-up visit about two weeks after the loss to make sure that you are healing well.
  • Depending on the gestational age at the time of birth, you may experience breast engorgement (swelling) and leaking of milk. Wearing a tight-fitting bra, applying ice packs to the breasts, and taking anti-inflammatory medication will help these symptoms resolve within a few days to two weeks.

Signs of complications

Please call your healthcare provider if you have any signs of a complication, which include:

  • Passing blood clots bigger than a golf ball
  • Heavy bleeding that soaks through a large, overnight menstrual pad in an hour, for two consecutive hours
  • Pain or burning with urination, or a sensation of having to urinate all the time
  • Headache, muscle aches or a general feeling of unwellness
  • Fever of 100.4˚F or higher that lasts four or more hours
  • Severe pain in the abdomen that is not improved with pain medication, rest or heat
  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge that has a foul smell
  • Vomiting lasting more than four hours

Next Steps
Forget me not flowers

Loss Resources

If you have experienced a loss in pregnancy or loss of a child, we hope you’ll find these resources helpful to you during this difficult time.

Pregnant Mom with Dad Hands on Belly

Perinatal Palliative Care and Bereavement

CHOP offers perinatal palliative care services to support families who learn that their baby is at high risk of dying either before or shortly after birth.