What Are The Signs Of A Miscarriage?

Symptoms of miscarrying
5 Typical Signs Of Miscarriage

Miscarriage is defined as the sudden loss of pregnancy during the first 20 weeks. Babies who die after 20 weeks are classified as stillborn. Miscarriages are usually divided into 'early miscarriages' which occur before week 13 and 'late miscarriages' which occur between weeks 13 and 20. About 80 percent of miscarriages will be 'early', occurring before week 12. The following are the top 5 warning signs that you may be miscarrying:

1. Bleeding: Have you started bleeding like a period? Bleeding during pregnancy is normally one of the first warning signs. It might start with a brown discharge from the vagina and then turn into bleeding. The blood can be bright red and contain clots of tissue and the flow can range from light to heavy. Bleeding can last several days. See also, what causes brown spotting?
2. Cramping: Do you have mild to severe cramps in your tummy or back? Pregnancy cramps are another warning sign, they usually occur a day or two before bleeding starts. They may even be more severe than cramps associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
3. Loss of Pregnancy Symptoms: Have your pregnancy symptoms suddenly disappeared or reduced dramatically? Has your morning sickness or breast tenderness reduced overnight?
4. Mucus Discharge: Have you noticed a white or pink vaginal discharge?
5. Contractions: Do you have waves of extreme pain that occur every 5 to 10 minutes?

It should be noted that not all women who miscarry have these symptoms and not all bleeding or spotting means you are having a miscarriage. 20 to 30 percent of all pregnant women experience some bleeding and about half of these go on to have regular healthy pregnancies. However if do you experience some or all of these symptoms, contact your doctor or go to your local emergency department for observation. They will perform a pregnancy scan to check if your baby is still in the womb. Unfortunately once a miscarriage begins there is nothing a doctor can do to stop it.

If you have miscarried, it is important to know that you are unlikely to have done anything wrong. The vast majority of miscarriages are NOT caused by exercise, sexual intercourse, emotional stress, a sudden fright or even a blow to the tummy. Nor is severe morning sickness (called hyperemesis gravidarum) where you vomit several times a day a likely cause. Trying to determine the cause of a miscarriage is not usually worthwhile because it is unlikely to ever be identified. If however you experience 3 or more miscarriages in a row it may be worth having a medical evaluation. Some factors related to recurrent miscarriages include thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies. Fortunately the vast majority of women who suffer a miscarriage go on to have successful pregnancies in the future.

Sobering Facts

It is thought that about 70 percent of ALL pregnancies end up in miscarriage - but the woman usually loses the baby before her period, so she never even realizes she is pregnant. It is also thought that about 15 to 20 percent of all recognized pregnancies (where the woman knows she is pregnant) end up in miscarriage. Do check out other questions below, including when is it safe to get pregnant after stopping the Pill?

• Need more information about miscarriages? See: Pregnancy Complications Guide
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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