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What To Expect During A Miscarriage

(The following information has been paraphrased from the resource: Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage)

Types Of Management

Expectant Management ("watch and wait"/natural miscarriage)

  • Miscarriage happens on its own, usually within 2 weeks post death.

  • Pain may be mild or may feel like labor even with an early miscarriage. This option provides the best chance of collecting your child's remains for burial. Home birth plans are available on the web for natural miscarriage at home.

  • Bereavement doulas are also available to assist you in these circumstances (see bereavement doulas below).

  • Miscarriage kits are also available for remains collection.

  • If possible, do not miscarry while alone.

Please seek immediate medical attention if you experience excessive heavy bleeding (soaking a pad in an hour), if your pain is intense, or if you develop a fever.

Contact or contact your local parish for support 
Miscarriage kits may be available.

Medical Management (Misoprostol)

  • Administration of medication to induce labor. 

  • Baby's death should be confirmed prior to choosing this option

  • Please contact the National Catholic Bioethics Center with questions regarding this option at

Surgical Management

  • Baby's death needs to be confirmed before choosing this option

  • Dilation and cutterage (aka D&C); typically for 1st trimester losses 

  • Dilation and evacuation (aka D&E); typically for 2nd trimester losses (Delivery is preferable.)

  • Outpatient procedures; requires anesthesia

  • Your baby's remains will not be intact when choosing this management option. Burial is still possible, but usually requires foreknowledge and formal requests. See our section on losses in the hospital setting here.

Ectopic pregnancy

  • May or may not require surgical management. Please consult your physician and the National Catholic Bioethics Center to decide which method is best for you.

Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy

  • This is a medical emergency and potentially fatal for the mother; immediate surgery is necessary.


Bereavement Doulas/"Loss Doulas"

A loss doula may be able to provide information as well as physical and emotional support to those experiencing loss.



  • Amy Esper; Certified Birth & Postpartum Doula | (734) 657-3779​​

    • Amy also works as a Pregnancy Support Counselor for ArborWoman Health, a Catholic, not-for-profit OB GYN, prenatal care, and crisis pregnancy clinic. Although she is not a trained bereavement counselor, Amy has experience with walking alongside clients that have recently miscarried. Amy also experienced multiple miscarriages, but overtime, with the grace of God and His healing love, has found solace and comfort with her losses and is happy to help others with short term help.

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