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Signs of Miscarriage

Miscarriage is a painful experience that many women have to go through in their lifetime. Painful physically as well as emotionally. The most common medical term used for miscarriage is spontaneous abortion. The term “abortion”, however has very negative connotations so we prefer to use the term miscarriage, referring to the fact that the woman failed to carry the fetus to full term and results in delivery of a baby too young to be able to survive outside the uterus.

When is a Miscarriage More Likely to Occur?

Miscarriage can happen very early or a bit later during the pregnancy period. Clinical guidelines define miscarriage as loss of a fetus aged 20 weeks to 22 weeks, weighing about 500 g or less. Most miscarriages, however, occur at the first trimester before the 13th week. An estimated 50% of pregnancies result in miscarriages due to a wide range of causes but only about 15% to 20% are detected as such.
Miscarriage is a life-and-death event, yet it is not a simple yes-or-no occurrence. It can manifest in many different forms. It does not happen in a single instant but consists of a series of events that culminate in the loss of the fetus and termination of the pregnancy.

Most miscarriages occur at a very early stage, sometimes even before a woman even realizes she is pregnant, and the embryo hasn’t even had the chance to implant in the uterus aka chemical pregnancy. About 15% of pregnancies result in early miscarriage during week 1 or 2. In such cases, the woman is blissfully unaware of what happened.

What’s an Embryonic Pregnancy?

A blighted ovum aka embryonic pregnancy will inevitably end up in a miscarriage which occurs a bit later, when the woman is usually aware of her condition. What she is not aware of is that although there is a sac in her uterus, there is no embryo inside. The body eventually passes the empty sac, usually before the 8th week of pregnancy.

As the fetus grows older, the chances of miscarriage decrease. However, the emotional pain that comes with miscarriage increases with increasing fetal age.

A threatened miscarriage is actually a potential tragedy thwarted. The most common sign of a threatened miscarriage is vaginal bleeding or commonly known as “spotting”. In such cases, the doctor usually prescribes bed rest as well as medications that can prevent contractions. Many threatened miscarriages have a happy ending, resulting in a healthy baby.

What Are the Signs of Miscarriage?

  • Vaginal bleeding, which may be mild or profuse. The bleeding is due to the passing of the embryonic/fetal and placental tissue out of the body, the so-called conception products. Miscarriage is complete if all products are expelled, characterized by profuse bleeding. Miscarriage is incomplete if the body cannot get rid of all products. In such cases, bleeding may be mild. Take note, however, that vaginal bleeding or spotting does not necessarily mean miscarriage. Some women with viable pregnancy can occasionally have some light spotting.
  • Pain in the lower back, which has been described as a persistent, dull but also sharp pain.
  • Abdominal cramps and pain, which can be mild or severe. Some women describe the sensation as being similar to menstrual cramps. The cramps may actually be real contractions wherein the body is trying to expel the conception products.

The intensity, timing, and duration of the symptoms vary from woman to woman.

In the doctor’s clinic, impending, threatened, or complete miscarriage is confirmed by several tests that include manual examination, pelvic ultrasound, and blood test to check for levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) hormone.

Manual examination checks the state of the cervix (dilation is a bad sign) and presence of other structural abnormalities such as tenderness and pain.

An ultrasound can check the status of the fetus, usually in terms of its size and heartbeat. The ultrasound can also detect abnormalities such as ectopic pregnancy.

The levels of HCG in the blood can indicate whether the pregnancy is proceeding normally or not.

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17 Comments on "Signs of Miscarriage"

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2 years 11 months ago
My Lmp was 5/25/16. Went to the doctor tgey saud i was 5 weeks. Went to Er a week later, they gave me an u/s, they said i was 5 weeks on july 10 but i had no fetal pole(fetus). Went back to ER on july 22 and there was a fetus but no heartbeat. Had a apptment on july 25 only to get a 3 minute u/s and the doctor said, it was nothing there??? My hormones are going up but not doubling as they should. they said i am miscarrying and I should at least be 7 weeks,… Read more »
Linda Friday oko
3 years 3 months ago
My name is linda I have a son he is 6 yrs of age I had him 2010 after that I got pregnant in 2012 I had a miscarriage; and after that I have had miscarriages like 8 times the most recent one was last year December 2015 I got pregnant my husband and I was hoping this was going to be different I went to the hospital they did test and scan I was pregnant: So they said I should come back fr a repeat scan to check fr the heart beat it’s always like that when it’s time… Read more »
3 years 8 months ago

I went to the doctors today because I woke an realized I was spotting a dark brown color but no cramps I automatically assumed that I was having a miscarriage and I was right although it’s not a severe the did blood and want me to return back on Thursday for an follow up I’m very scared and in shock that I may have done something wrong

3 years 8 months ago
I am +/- 10 weeks pregnant and just left my Doctor for a second opinion. On Thursday I had lower back pains and a pink discharge. I rested and observed and I felt the pain the following day and on Saturday I decided to go to the clinic and I was told I had bladder infection and I was injected and referred to come back for antibiotics on Monday. Monday I decided to consult again and the referred me to the hospital and at Antinatal clinic they referred me to the Gyneo Dept because there was now bleeding when they… Read more »
Alexandra V
3 years 8 months ago
I was 10 wks pregnant with my 4th child and I did have an ultrasound done on my 7th week and even though I was spotting since the beginning of pregnancy Dr explained me that everything was going perfect and baby’s heart bit was normal and strong so went back on my 10 weeks 4 days and Dr couldn’t find baby’s heart bit and that stop growing at 7 weeks 4 days… Now looking back my breast weren’t as tender as they were and I could still fit in my pants and felt a little pain on my lower back… Read more »
3 years 10 months ago
This is my second pregnancy .my LMP was on july 8th , in general its regular period , but my last period was 1 week delay. later the 2nd week i did home test adn came to know the result was positive. in btw i had little dark brown bleeding once. at 6+ week i did vaginal scan adn was observed that it was only sac adn baby yet to appear. so doctor advised a scan again after 2 weeks with all my blood,urine test. also i have morning sickness, at times nausea and guidiness. Currently in week 7 wherei… Read more »
Anisha Vance
3 years 10 months ago

I am almostv8 weeks just this weekend I started bleeding .No cramps and not filling up pad but it has been red ,Than went go pink and then brown now red again.I am more worried this is a possible miscarriage.I did just like others I had my ultrasound and seen my baby but knowing it may not be here no more hurt me.I have 5 others I was blessed with they been so excited about the baby.Don’t want to put out tmi but my husband and I was having sex last weekend and I been bleeding off and on since.

4 years 1 month ago
I believe I’m in the middle of a miscarriage with severe cramping and bleeding that has lasted since the day before yesterday. The day before yesterday I have a tranvaginal ultrasound, showed baby with a heartbeat and when I left started bleeding and have been bleeding since. I would be shocked if I wasn’t miscarry in now due to the terrible pain. I thought it was a pretty special moment to see the flicker of life my partner and I created, if only for a moment in time. Despite the outcome, this has been a really special experience I will… Read more »
4 years 2 months ago
I am 11wks 2days today. During 10wks pregnancy I went to my first ultrasound scan and there was no baby inside the sac only water. My second opinion of scan says I am experiencing a blighted ovum. My doctor (gynea)sent me for Quantitative BHCG for 3 different times, 48 hrs between each other. But I didn’t get my results yet. I am not quiet sure what she want to see from my results because I was a little bit confused the time she told me about this blighted ovum. This is suppose to be my third child and I didn’t… Read more »
4 years 3 months ago
I just found out that I was pregnant five days ago on a Tuesday through a blood test. It was estimated at five weeks pregnant. Thursday evening when I got done at work and went to the barhroom I noticed light pink bleeding. I called the doctor and she told me that as long as there wasn’t cramping I should be ok but if I was still experiencing light bleeding I should come into the doctors office in the morning. The next morning I went to the doctor because I was still experiencing light bleeding. Only after using the restroom… Read more »
4 years 3 months ago

Im pregnant and got to know when I had severe pain in my abdomen and started bleeding..I thought it was my regular cycle but just to get it checked I did a blook test which was the situation is very ultrasound says the baby n sac are both fine and well but I still slightly bleed everyday..I don’t have pain but I really need to know what’s going on..also I conceived with polysystic ovaries..kindly advice

4 years 9 months ago

what to find out was told I have blighted almost 8week and a bleeding slightly like 4 tables spoon. it has stop any advice pls

5 years 4 months ago
I missed my period feb.16 but few days before that I was having implantation bleeding it was brownish discharge when I wiped I saw light red. I went to the doctors feb.20 they did urine test it was neg but they took blood I got results back within 3 days it was positive but my hcg was only at 13 so she called me in to do more blood work and that came back neg. but she never gave me hcg number this time. So I don’t know if it’s still early or if I had a miscarriage. Also the… Read more »
5 years 11 months ago

Ok on the 30th of tis month my hormone level was 40
Had another blood test done came bk 21 on the 2nd now i
I need abother blood test. I had a misscarraige on the
16/4/13. Ive been bleeding for 21 days now usaully
Wen i pee can sum1 plz tell me wat could b goin on???

6 years 10 months ago

i had a bloodtest done at the doctors the day before yesterday and she called me yesterday saying it was positive but was questioning because i have been bleeding since sat or sun i just thought i had my period so i went to the er… they were no help they said my level was only 26 so i dont know if im miscarrying or what… i need help or answers.. im so confused

8 years 1 month ago
i am 6 weeks pregnant on saturday i get my results on wheather its normal or not, they say that i could be having an ectopic pregnancy or early start miscarriage but also said could be just normal, i have been bleeding not all time just when i wipe myself after been to the toilet but the blood is quite bright sometimes its just brownish. Iv been having pain in my abdomils but nothing serious, they have given me an blood test and i have to go back saturday and if the number doubles its normal if it stays slightly… Read more »
sara peppard
9 years 1 month ago

Oh my God I don’t know how can i thank you guys for your website, I was so confused about my pregnancy and i couldn’t find any good sources, also my Mom is far a way from me but now feel safe i feel like my family are giving me these advice and helping me to go through it.

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