Miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy, which creates a significant workload for health-care professionals. For decades, surgical evacuation of the uterus has remained the conventional treatment of first-trimester miscarriage. Recently, non surgical treatments have been introduced with increasing popularity. This review explores the evidence in support of expectant management of first-trimester miscarriage. It is safe, effective and well-tolerated by women. It enhances women's choice and control. It generates significant cost savings compared with the traditional surgical management. Accurate diagnosis, counselling, 24/7 telephone advice and follow-up are among the important aspects of expectant management. More studies are needed to develop methods for identifying miscarriages suitable for expectant management.