Signs and Symptoms of Miscarriage

Miscarriage is when a woman loses the fetus during the early stages of the pregnancy and it can happen with 10 to 25% of pregnancies. There are many different possible causes for a miscarriage including trauma and infections and the symptoms can vary from person to person. It is possible for the miscarriage to occur very early in the pregnancy and for the woman not to even know that she was pregnant. If the miscarriage occurs later in the pregnancy, however, there may be more noticeable symptoms such as cramping and abdominal pain that is mild to severe. Read on to find out all the possible symptoms and how you should deal with a miscarriage.

Signs and Symptoms of Miscarriage

1. Spotting or Bleeding

Although spotting or bleeding may be a sign of a miscarriage, it is possible to experience these symptoms and still have a healthy pregnancy. Despite that, bleeding (whether light spotting or a heavier flow) is one of the first signs of a miscarriage so you should always visit your doctor if you are pregnant and experience this symptom.

2. Cramps

While pregnant, it is possible to have stomach cramps because your ligaments are stretching, but these cramps may also indicate a miscarriage. You should always talk to your doctor if you experience cramping during pregnancy and this is especially true if your cramps only occur on one side or feel stronger than your normal menstrual cramps or if you are also bleeding.

3. Back Pain

In some cases the cramps associated with miscarriage will not be abdominal. They may also come in the form of lower back pain that is dull to moderate. If you experience back pain during your pregnancy and also experience bleeding, you should make an appointment with your doctor to check.

4. Vaginal Discharge

Another common sign of miscarriage is vaginal discharge. This can include blood clots or other fluids. Any time that you experience discharge that includes vaginal irritation or is foul-smelling, you should talk to your doctor immediately as this may indicate a problem. If you discharge fetal tissue (which will be grayish and possibly have blood clots), then you should try to take a sample of it for your doctor to check.

5. Decreased Activity of the Baby

Although most miscarriages happen during the first trimester of pregnancy, they can occur later on as well. If this is the case, a change in the activity level of your baby may be one of the signs and symptoms of miscarriage. Because of this you should always pay close attention to how active your baby is. If he or she suddenly or drastically decreases their activity level, talk to your doctor.

6. Change in Pregnancy Symptoms

Another possible sign that you are experiencing a miscarriage is if your pregnancy symptoms undergo a change. The symptoms that may change include breast tenderness, vomiting and nausea. Any sudden change that occurs before your second trimester can be because of a decrease in the pregnancy hormones so your doctor may do a blood test.

7. Negative Pregnancy Test

If you have a positive pregnancy test and later have a negative one, this may indicate a miscarriage, but that is not always the case. It is also possible that you had a false positive result or that you have an ectopic pregnancy. If you have a negative pregnancy test after a positive one, you should consult your doctor.

Video: What Does A Miscarriage Look Like and how to react:

What to Do If You Suspect You Are About to Miscarry?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above and associated with miscarriage, you should contact your doctor right away. If you are cramping or bleeding, your doctor will probably do a blood test (which they may repeat in a few days) and check where the bleeding is coming from. If there is any risk of an ectopic pregnancy, you will probably have an ultrasound and if the spotting continues. At that point, your doctor can determine what your risk of miscarriage is or if the miscarriage has already occurred.

It is possible that the embryo will be smaller than you expected which could indicate you are not as far along in the pregnancy as you thought. You may also need a second ultrasound and more blood tests to complete the diagnosis.

If the symptoms occur during the second trimester and your cervix is opening or shortening, your doctor may want to perform a cerclage (stitching the cervix shut) to reduce the risk of miscarriage.

It is possible to have cramping and light bleeding for several weeks and if so, you can take acetaminophen and wear sanitary pads (no tampons). During a miscarriage, the cramping and bleeding will most likely worsen. You should try to save the discharged tissue so your doctor can determine why the miscarriage occurred.

Medical Treatments for Miscarriage

Threatened Miscarriage

If you have a threatened miscarriage, it is possible that your doctor will ask to rest, avoiding exercise, traveling and sex. This may continue until your pain or bleeding subsides.


There are several main choices for treating a miscarriage:

  • Expectant Management. You can choose to allow the miscarriage to discharge naturally, which could take anywhere from a few weeks to three or four and can be emotionally difficult. In some cases, medical treatment is necessary.
  • Medical Treatment. You can take medication (either oral or vaginal) to speed up the rate at which the expulsion occurs. In 70 to 90% of cases, this is effective within a day.
  • Surgical Treatment. Suction dilation and curettage is another option in which your doctor dilates the cervix and removes the tissue. This is necessary if you have an infection or heavy bleeding.

Home Remedies for Miscarriage

  • Physical recovery. Usually physical recovery will take between a few hours and several days. Your period should come back in four or six weeks and you should avoid placing anything in your vagina for two weeks.
  • Future pregnancies. It is possible to get pregnant right after your miscarriage and this is not necessarily bad. Having multiple miscarriages is very rare and fewer than 5% of women will have two miscarriages in a row. If you do have multiple miscarriages in a row, you should talk to your doctor to determine the cause.
  • Emotional support. It may take a long time to emotionally recover from a miscarriage. You should do your best to take time enough to grieve and talk to your friends and family. If you are especially depressed, you should talk to your doctor.
  • Prevention. In many cases you can’t prevent a miscarriage but it does help to try to take good care of your baby and yourself. You should have regular prenatal appointments and avoid risk factors (such as alcohol and cigarettes).
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