Miscarriage Treatment / Early Pregnancy Loss Care (EPL)
If you begin to miscarry, the staff of Northland Family Planning has the expertise, experience and compassion to help you through this and address your needs in these difficult circumstances. We offer emotionally-supportive miscarriage managment to help you through the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy loss.
We offer our miscarriage patients:
- Faster service and in a more convenient manner than is available with your private doctor’s office or the emergency room
- We have 3 locations and a physician available 6 days a week to care for you
- Much lower cost than a hospital visit
- NO hospital visit required! One-visit care, in a more intimate, emotionally-supportive setting than a hospital
- Quick treatment: If you have insurance but no physician, you don’t need to take the time to find a new doctor to care for you
- Treatment without having to reschedule: If, while you are here for an abortion appointment and we diagnose an EPL, we will still be able to treat you
- Confidential treatment: We understand that some patients prefer that their private physician not know about a pregnancy at all
- Physicians and genetic counselors all over the metro Detroit area and beyond refer their patients to NFP
If you know you are having an Early Pregnancy Loss, you are not required to receive the State Mandated abortion information before scheduling an appointment with us.
You might wonder why a reproductive health care center that specializes in abortion care would also offer care for EPL. The answer is simple: We are dedicated to helping women and their families in all areas of reproductive health care. Many of our patients have asked us specifically to provide EPL because they appreciate the way we treat and care for them. We are proud to be able to offer Early Pregnancy Loss care to women who know they are experiencing a loss and those who find out when they come to the clinic.
The Northland standard of care is focused on you, with the gentleness, expertise and personal respect you deserve. All of us – our physicians, medical practitioners and our full team of caring, dedicated staff members – are skilled, compassionate professionals who treat you kindly, offering the most advanced and highest quality techniques of care. Our staff and physicians are experienced in working with women during this time and are dedicated to not only providing the best medical care, but also to honoring the loss you and your family are experiencing. We are committed to ensuring that you receive the emotional support you may need and deserve.
We would like you to know and understand that many of the patients in our office may be here for abortion care. Good women make different choices at different times in their lives, depending on their circumstances. If you have strong, negative feelings against abortion and being in our office with women choosing abortion, Northland Family Planning may not be the right place for your care. We understand that, we judge no one, and are happy to refer you elsewhere.
What is EPL?
Early Pregnancy Loss, or EPL, is known by several names. Most commonly referred to as a miscarriage, it can also be called a missed abortion, threatened abortion, or incomplete abortion. When you experience an EPL, it means that the pregnancy has failed and is no longer growing normally.
What are common signs of an Early Pregnancy Loss?
Common symptoms of miscarriage include bleeding and passing clots. Sometimes, mild cramping or a low backache also may occur.
A small amount of bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy is relatively normal and often stops on its own without treatment. However, if you have spotting or vaginal bleeding early in pregnancy, you should contact your health care provider. If your bleeding is heavy or occurs along with a pain like menstrual cramps, you should contact your health care provider right away.
What are my treatment options?
Based on the testing and the exam, the physician may offer different treatment options. Our physicians will offer you advice about further treatment after an evaluation and exam. We offer two options at this time:
- Aspiration or Suction Procedure- This method, available at Northland, is commonly referred to as a D&C (dilation and curettage). The most effective treatment for early miscarriage is done by a gentle suction, using an IPAS manual syringe or a vacuum aspirator, to remove the contents of the uterus. This simple procedure can be completed in 3-5 minutes in our office. If you need pain medication or something to help you relax we offer light and moderate sedation options. You will be able to resume your normal activities as soon as you feel up to it.
- Medication Management- using medication prescribed by a doctor at home, which causes cramping and heavy bleeding. In the event that the medication process does not work, an aspiration/suction may be needed to complete the miscarriage.
You have one other option for managing your miscarriage, however at this time, Northland Family Planning does not offer the Expectant Management approach. If this is how you would prefer to be treated, we will refer you back to your family doctor or to a hospital emergency department.
- Expectant Management- also called the “wait and see” approach. Generally, this option works best in pregnancies under 7 weeks. Some miscarriages will not resolve on their own and require medical care. There is a danger of prolonged bleeding (up to several weeks), retained pregnancy tissue (which could lead to infection), or the risk of too much bleeding (hemorrhage). You should be seen by a physician, and possibly have an ultrasound, a week or two after you start bleeding to be sure the miscarriage is complete.
What to expect at your appointment:
While you are with us, you will meet our medical team and speak privately with a reproductive health counselor. For your additional safety and comfort, we also:
- Confirm an Early Pregnancy Loss with a pregnancy test and ultrasound
- Have a private conversation with you about your treatment plan
- Complete a full medical history to be aware of your particular needs
- Provide you with full informed consent by explaining the procedure and recovery process
- Perform your medical exam and D&C procedure in a clean, softly lit surgical suite with background music and aromatherapy for relaxation
- You will spend approximately one hour in our quiet recovery area where we monitor your blood pressure, bleeding, and pulse and offer you an opportunity to relax and ask questions (tea and light refreshments are provided)
- When you are discharged, you will be given specific and complete home care and recovery instructions explaining signs and symptoms of possible complications, along with a 24-hour emergency phone number
- You will receive a prescription for your post-procedure medications, which can be filled low-cost right at our office
- You will be given a Homecare Packet in which you will find helpful guidance on both physical and emotional health
Follow up laboratory work (if necessary)
If you choose to stay for the D&C at Northland, the physician may need to send the pregnancy tissue to a reference lab for a microscopic evaluation by a licensed pathologist. The physician may also order a series of hCG beta blood tests.
These tests are done to determine that pregnancy tissue was removed, to eliminate the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy, or to see if the reason why you had a miscarriage can be determined. The physician may order one, both, or neither depending on the outcome of your procedure. There are additional fees if a test is ordered, and there are options for paying them.
If you have an Rh-negative blood type, you will need to receive a rhogam injection following your procedure. There is a fee for this medication.
Follow up care after the surgical procedure
It is very important that you return in 2-3 weeks for a follow up appointment at no additional charge. This appointment is important to make sure that the procedure was complete and that you are healing properly.
Taking Care of Yourself, Emotionally
We want all of our patients being treated for Early Pregnancy Loss to know that regardless of how you felt about this pregnancy before you started to miscarry, we will take good care of you physically and emotionally so you can take the next steps in your life.
What type of feelings do women have when going through a miscarriage?
1) We have worked with abortion patients since 1976. During this time we have learned that when a woman has an unintended pregnancy and is considering abortion, she may wish or pray for a miscarriage. The obvious reason for this is to avoid having to make a difficult decision as a miscarriage makes the decision for her. She may even do things or take medication that she hopes will induce a miscarriage. Even when a woman has hoped for a miscarriage, if it happens there can be still be a full range of emotions from relief to sadness and all emotions in between. Some women may feel relieved and sad at the same time—we understand that, and we welcome complex feelings.
2) Many women with an unplanned pregnancy are happy about being pregnant and share the same feelings as those with a planned pregnancy when faced with a miscarriage.
For a woman who has a desired pregnancy and miscarries, feelings can be very different. From heart wrenching grief and loss to fear about future pregnancies. We have put together some resources for you and hope that they will help you begin to heal emotionally. We want you to know that our sympathies are with you, as we know this loss hurts very much, not only for you but for your family as well.
www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk: “We know that miscarriage can be a very unhappy, frightening and lonely experience. If you have been affected by the loss of a baby in pregnancy, whether recently or long ago, we hope that you will find here support, information and comfort.”
www.hopexchange.com “Coping with the grief of miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death can be one of the most difficult trials in a person’s life, and one most of us are unprepared to face. We are here to offer you information, encouragement, support, and most of all hope.”
www.aplacetoremember.com –“Uplifting support resources for those who have been touched by a crisis in pregnancy or the death of baby.”
www.imaginecounseling.com Charlotte Taft, Imagine, 505-490-2084. Ms. Taft specializes in over-the-phone pregnancy and grief related counseling. She offers a one-hour introductory phone session for $25 with a credit card. She is on Mountain time, which is 2 hours earlier than Michigan.
Additional Resources: There are many books that explore the feelings of loss related to miscarriage. They can be found at your local library, local bookstores or at online bookstores.