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What is miscarriage?

A miscarriage is a pregnancy loss that occurs within the fi­rst 20 weeks. This is usually confirmed with either blood tests or an ultrasound.

Around one in fi­ve pregnancies miscarry and usually during the fi­rst 12 weeks. They are often unexpected. Having a miscarriage is not your fault. Miscarriage is the body’s natural way to reject a pregnancy that was not viable.

Types of miscarriage


The pregnancy tissue is currently leaving the uterus


All the pregnancy tissue has left your uterus


Some pregnancy tissue is still in the uterus


The baby has died but all the pregnancy tissue is still in the uterus

What will my GP do now to help me during my miscarrige?

Your GP will provide treatment based on the type of miscarriage you have had and how many weeks pregnant you are.

Complete miscarriage

Your GP will confirm all pregnancy tissue has been discharged. Your GP may talk to you about what supports you can access and check your general health.

Inevitable miscarriage

Your GP may suggest you wait and let nature take its course. If you choose this option, you can often return home to wait for the miscarriage to complete. Your GP will want to see you again in a week to confirm the miscarriage has completed.

Your GP may refer you to the Early Pregnancy Assessment Service. They may provide medication to complete the miscarriage. For more information, see Medical Termination of Pregnancy.

Incomplete or missed miscarriage

Your GP will refer you to the Early Pregnancy Assessment Service who will discuss with you the options for managing your pregnancy loss, such as:

  • Waiting for your miscarriage to complete naturally
  • Taking medication to complete the miscarriage

Having a surgical procedure called a dilatation and curettage (D&C) to empty the uterus of the pregnancy. 


What will my GP do in the future to help me after a miscarriage?

Your GP will want to see you around six weeks after your miscarriage. Your GP will check your uterus has returned to its normal size. They will also discuss how you are feeling and any other issues or problems.

Your GP may also:

  • Offer a referral for counselling to help you cope with your loss
  • Discuss future pregnancy planning if you want to try to conceive again
  • Discuss contraception options if you choose not to try to conceive again at this time

If you have had three or more miscarriages in a row with the same partner, your GP may refer you to a specialist. You might need to have some tests as well.


What can I do during this time?

It is normal to feel mixed emotions and need time to be upset about your loss. Remember this is not your fault and you could not have prevented it. If you are finding it hard to come to terms with the loss, talking to a counsellor can help.

It is important to make sure all the pregnancy tissue has been discharged from the uterus. You may be asked by your GP or pregnancy care provider to check the contents of your pad or the toilet for pregnancy tissue for this.

Pregnancy, birth and baby provides details of what you might see depending on how many weeks pregnant you were when the miscarriage occurred. In South Western Sydney, there is no requirement to collect any of the pregnancy tissue or fetus to provide to your GP or hospital.

For women at eight weeks or more gestation, there is the possibility that you may see the baby. This can be distressing for some women. The coping with pregnancy loss page provides information on what you may wish to do with the baby as well as how to access support.

When should I call an ambulance?

If your miscarriage has not completed and you have heavy bleeding or if you are in your second trimester, call 000 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

What questions could I ask my doctor?

  • Where can I access support?
  • Will I need to go to hospital?
  • When can I have sex again?
  • How do I manage any pain?
  • How long should the bleeding last?
  • When can I start trying to conceive again?

What supports are available?

  • SWSLHD Early Pregnancy Assessment Services

    The Early Pregnancy Assessment Service (EPAS) supports women who are less than 20 weeks pregnant and have abdominal pain or bleeding. EPAS units are available at the following hospitals:

  • Red Nose grief and loss line

Where can I learn more?

  • NSW Health

    Early pregnancy – when things go wrong

  • Pregnancy, Birth and Baby


  • The Pink Elephants Support Network

    Miscarriage support

  • Pregnancy Loss Australia

    Support and guidance for miscarriage

  • Agency for Clinical Innovation

    Bleeding in early pregnancy

Important: This information is to be viewed by someone who has received a diagnosis from their doctor. It is not designed to be used to diagnose a condition or as a substitute for ongoing medical care.

Health Resource Directory factsheets are endorsed by South Western Sydney PHN’s Community Advisory Committee and local GPs

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