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When to Start Birth Control Pills After a Miscarriage

By Beth Lytle ; Updated April 18, 2017

A miscarriage is described as the loss of a pregnancy or a baby before the baby is born. Most miscarriages occur within the first 20 weeks of the pregnancy. Most women cannot prevent miscarriages, but most are able to get pregnant again after having one.

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What to Expect

If a pregnant woman is having unusual vaginal bleeding, fever or chills, severe abdominal pain, a bad odor coming from the vaginal area, and/or a high temperature, she may be experiencing a miscarriage and should seek medical attention immediately. The patient may be prescribed medication for the pain following the miscarriage. If there is any tissue left in the uterus, this can cause heavy bleeding and must be removed. Removing this tissue will also help prevent infection. Patients are usually recommended to stay in bed until the heavy bleeding has stopped or slowed. A blood transfusion may be necessary, depending on how much blood was lost during the miscarriage. Women who experience a miscarriage are often recommended to seek counseling.


The doctor will most likely want to see the patient two to six weeks after the miscarriage for follow-up. The patient can expect vaginal bleeding or spotting for up to 10 days after the miscarriage. She will be advised to rest and slowly return to normal activity. How soon the woman can resume normal sexual activities will be at the recommendation of her doctor. Women are usually advised to have at least two to three normal periods before trying to get pregnant again. Birth control can be used if the woman would prefer not to get pregnant again.

Taking Birth Control

Both progestin-only birth control pills and combination birth control pills can be taken immediately following a miscarriage. Progestin-only pills can be started at any time and should be combined with another method of birth control for the first 48-hours of use. Full protection will begin after two days of taking the pill. Combination pills can also be taken at any time. Women who do not want to get pregnant again after a miscarriage can start their birth control pills immediately without waiting for their next period to start. If starting birth control without waiting for the next period, additional protection should be used during sexual intercourse for one week.

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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Beth Lytle has been writing professionally since 2008. Working as an editor and with recent work published on eHow, LiveStrong and the Bayer Aspirin website, Lytle is a self-made freelancer. Lytle writes health-related and home-improvement articles, first beginning her writing journey while attending writing workshops and classes during childhood. Lytle has owned transcription and commercial construction companies since 2006.

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