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What are the symptoms of a miscarriage?

Humberto Scoccia, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Symptoms of miscarriage include spotting, bleeding and cramping. It is important to contact your physician if you are experiencing these symptoms so that appropriate testing can be done, including blood tests and ultrasound.
Miscarriage, also know as a spontaneous abortion, is defined as the loss of your pregnancy before 20 weeks' gestation. Early warning signs of a miscarriage include:
  • vaginal spotting of blood
  • pain in the lower back
  • cramps in the lower abdomen
  • heavy bleeding with clots
Most women who have bleeding or cramps during early pregnancy are not miscarrying, and the pregnancy usually progresses normally.

It may be unclear whether or not a miscarriage is about to happen. That's because one of the symptoms, bleeding, can be a sign of a less-serious complication. Typically, though, a miscarriage may be signaled by vaginal bleeding, abdominal cramps, lower-back pain, and the discharge of tissue. If it is very early in the first trimester, a miscarriage may appear as minor bleeding. If it is later on, though, the bleeding may contain clots and the cramping will be quite obvious as the body loses the pregnancy. A miscarriage is believed to be "complete," if all pregnancy related tissues have left the uterus.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.