Symptoms of Miscarriage

On this page you will find four categories of miscarriage symptoms: definite signs of a forthcoming miscarriage, possible signs, signs that might scare you but are really okay, and unusual periods that are not necessarily miscarriages.


Definite Signs of a Miscarriage

You are having a miscarriage if you have already had a positive pregnancy test, then get these symptoms:

  • Heavy bleeding that soaks a pad in a few hours or less.
  • Strong cramps that make you double over or breathe in a huffy way. Bleeding will usually follow quickly.
  • Passage of tissue, resembling large thick blood clots in the earliest weeks up to pinkish/grayish material, with or without cramps or pain.

A little bit of bleeding without cramping should be okay, but call a doctor. Small darting cramps, even if they hurt, are also okay, usually they just signal the body stretching and pulling to accommodate the growing baby. Lie down and the cramps will usually go away within the hour.

These symptoms can be other things rather than a loss of pregnancy, however, if you are not sure you are pregnant. Check the “I’m not sure I was pregnant” section.

What should you do?

If it is during doctor’s regular working hours, call your regular doctor first. They will give you instructions. If it a night or weekend, first call your regular doctor’s after-hours number. Usually this will be on their answering machine or with their answering service. The nurse or doctor on call who calls you back will help you decide if you need immediate attention or not. Don’t feel like you are bothering them needlessly; this is a natural and expected part of any OB practice.If you can’t get through, don’t have a doctor, and you are afraid, then go to an emergency room.

Be prepared for some possibly insensitive treatment. While some hospitals are well equipped for handling this situation and do a good job, often you are left alone in a room for hours, or told to sit on a toilet and catch tissue, or just sent back home because “there is nothing they can do.” It may be worth the trip, though, if they draw blood for an hCG test or give you a sonogram.

When I began bleeding heavily on an airplane on a Friday afternoon, I still waited until Monday to see my doctor. I did not want some total stranger telling me the baby had died, or to have a sonogram in an emergency room and be told to “call my doctor for the results.” While I was sad about the possible loss of the pregnancy (turns out I lost one of a set of twins at 10 weeks), I was resolved to wait for a comforting, familiar doctor’s office.

There is not really a risk to waiting until Monday or the next morning if you are in your first trimester. There is no magic way to stop an early miscarriage at the hospital. What is going to happen will happen. If you are farther along than 12 weeks, though, and you are merely in labor and not bleeding, then you should take quick action to see if labor can be stopped.If you are passing tissue at home, and it is your first miscarriage, it is not necessary to catch the tissue and take it in. You may do this if you choose, however, and you can store it in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator until you get to a doctor. However, it is rare that tissue caught this way will be usable. Tissue from first miscarriages is rarely tested, since it is assumed your miscarriage was due to a genetic defect. The best way to ensure testable tissue is to have a D&C.

Possible Signs of a Miscarriage

Sometimes, but not always, there may be signs that a miscarriage is pending. None of these things means a miscarriage is certain, but usually you will want additional monitoring if they happen.

Bleeding: Bleeding that starts and stops and starts and stops is often a sign that your hormone levels are falling. While you may still be okay, you need to have your blood hCG pregnancy hormone levels monitored. Heavy bleeding that soaks a pad in an hour is a sign that a miscarriage may be beginning. See the sections on “Definite Signs” for more information on what to do. Keep in mind that while bleeding is always scary, 70% of all pregnancies have bleeding at some point. Both of my normal pregnancies had bleeding, heavy and red. And the one I lost at 20 weeks never even spotted.

Cramping: You are going to feel a lot of random cramping down there the whole pregnancy. The only time cramping is a concern is if you are breathing in a labor-like huff, or if you also begin bleeding with the cramps.

Loss of pregnancy symptoms: This is a question I get all the time. While the complete and sudden loss of pregnancy symptoms can signal a pending miscarriage, usually it is not the first sign. You will have many days where you don’t feel pregnant, when the nausea abates for a day or two, or your breasts are less sore. This is expected and not a concern at all. Around weeks 10 to 14, this is completely normal, as your hormone levels even out and the placenta takes over. The loss of pregnancy symptoms during a miscarriage is usually something you see in hindsight, not ahead of time.

A pregnancy test that fluctuates between positive and negative: If you have tested super early, this is normal. However, if you are a couple weeks in, this could mean an ectopic pregnancy. Often you may also see spotting. If you have taken a pregnancy test that is positive, then another one a few days later that is negative, alert your doctor immediately. You want to rule out an ectopic or take care of it before you have to go the surgical route. If you are taking the tests in the same day, though, you might be right on the edge of a positive result, and urine later in the day may not be concentrated enough to keep the test positive. Test again the next morning to be sure.

You should always call your doctor when you are worried, however; because it is better to call for something that does not turn out to be a problem than to stay up half the night worrying about it.

When You’re Okay

Whether it’s your first pregnancy or you have already been through a loss, one thing we all have in common is worry, worry, worry. This is okay, but remember that 90% of pregnancies end with a squawling baby, regardless of the turmoil the mom has gone through to get there. Here are the most common things you will fret over, and why they are not really a problem.

Bleeding: Small amounts of brown blood (which means it’s old) are expected when the egg implants in the uterus (7-10 days after ovulation) and sometimes at the point when you would have expected your period. You may also bleed slightly after having sex, but this is probably NOT from the baby. Your cervix is soft and filled with blood, so it may bleed a little from sex. This is not considered by many doctors to be a problem, but if it alarms you, call. Up to 70% of all pregnancies have bleeding.

You will be especially scared if you see bright red blood. If you are between 10 and 12 weeks, or if it is a time you would have expected your period, do not panic. Remember that until you are quite far along, much of your uterus is not involved in nourishing the baby, and can bleed with a minor hormone fluctuation. If you are not cramping, call your doctor to let them know, stay lying down on your left side, and hopefully it will slow down, start to turn brown, and eventually stop. If you push the issue, your doctor might schedule a sonogram to put your fears to rest.

When bleeding is a problem: If it is heavy enough to make you change pads or bright red, call your doctor right away. If you begin to have cramps with the bleeding, follow the instructions under “Definite Signs” above.

Cramping: You are going to feel a lot of random cramping down there the whole pregnancy. Most of the time it is caused by the round ligaments expanding to accommodate your growing baby and uterus. If it goes away after a few pains or after you sit down and rest a bit, then you are probably all right. Cramping is a sign you are growing to accommodate the baby and sometimes a sign that you are overdoing it and should rest.

When cramping is a problem: If it continues or gets worse or if you start bleeding too, call your doctor immediately. If you begin to have labor-like breathing or a gush of fluid or blood, follow the instructions under “Definite Signs.”

Inability to eat or keep food down. This is normal! Remember that the baby is the size of a grain of rice and not exactly demanding steak dinners. When the baby starts to need the extra 300 calories a day, you will be eating fine. Just do the best you can with your saltines and soda, and remember that the more severe your morning sickness, the better your hormones are functioning.

Few or no pregnancy symptoms. Not everyone spends each day throwing up or sleeping all the time. Many people have symptoms that are light or nonexistent. This does not mean you will miscarry. Each pregnancy is different, and usually pregnancies after the first will be easier on your body. I had so few pregnancy symptoms the third time around that I actually ordered a margarita at a restaurant before my husband said, “Aren’t you forgetting something?” This never would have happened with Emily, when I spent every non-working hour sleeping or bawling over a migraine.

You should always call your doctor when you are worried, however; because it is better to call for something that does not turn out to be a problem than to stay up half the night worrying about it.

Unusual Periods that Are Not Necessarily Miscarriages

There are many things that can happen in a cycle to make you wonder if you were pregnant and lost a baby, but you never took a test to know for sure. For information on this topic, click on “I’m not sure I was ever pregnant.


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826 thoughts on “Symptoms of Miscarriage

  1. Hi. I have had three preg two early and 11 miscarriages a total of thirteen pregnancies. I was told I miss carried on fathers day last month so we went home all was fine I cramped n bleed like was to b expected. A week later allll my prego symptoms cane back fullll force . I’ve taken three preg test all positive currently waiting on blood work.. My question is its hard to tell if my cervix is open cause I had a keep done on it n all the oreg but when I go to check it their is really really small amounts of blood. No pads no panty liner nothing. Its only their when I go to check my cervix I’m s aded IMA misscarru again n needed info on bleeding cervix how u know its open should I be alarmed its bright red when I Che j the opening to my cervix

  2. Hi, I am between 5 and 6 weeks along. I went to the hospital yesterday because I was experiencing blood, not a lot but enough to worry me. The doctor, tried to give a pelvic exam, but was unable to because it was so heavy. She said I was possibly miscarrying. They gave me a sonogram, and said the fetus was still there but they thought it may be trying to abort itself, that if the blood got heavier, and cramping started I was most likely miscarrying. So I came home, and the bleeding continued for about 4 more hours, and then completely stopped, it did start bleeding again until later this afternoon, and it hasn’t been a lot. All of the blood that is coming out is brownish purple, I have a doctors appointment soon, but I just really need to know. Why I am bleeding so much. Also, the nurse that was taking care of me also stated that his wife Bled her whole pregnancy almost to the point of losing the baby.. So he thought. But now the baby is 10 years old. Sooo… I just wish I knew what was going on. Thanks…

  3. Hi… on Monday I went to the doctor expecting to be 6weeks and one day. My OB did an US and said I was measuring at 5/5. Shr took HCG blood work and on Wednesday had me go for more. The tests came back that my HCG levels only rose 40%. That night I lost ALL of my pregnancy sysmptoms… which I only had breast tenderness and exhaustion. I have had no cramping… but onve when I whiped there was a very thing almost mucousy line of brown blood. Have I lost my baby? Should I be waiting for a missed miscarriage? I am scheduled for more bloodwork on Monday… but I really would like to know what Im walking into. 🙁

  4. Hi this is my 4th pregnancy no babies. I am now bleeding for the past 15days bright red tiny clots dark an sometimes stringy like and pinky brown. I had a transvaginal ultrasound showing baby was 6weeks 6days on the 22 Aug after going to er wit bleeding. Then again Sunday the 24th a lot more bleeding small clots had ultrasound baby was 7 weeks 1 day heartbeat 141bpm I was so happy. I have another scan on Monday but today have pain cramping hurts when I cough just really worried I won’t hear my baby’s heartbeat Monday don’t think I will handle another miscarriage.

  5. I was 3 days late had all the signs of pregnancy then I woke up and didn’t feel most the signs anymore and had really bad pain and bright red blood. I was also very sick at the time. I went to the hospital the next day and told the hospital about me being sick (was having trouble breathing was upper respiratory infection) but told them about the pain and they didn’t NOTHING. I bled for ten days normally it three days on my period. Now its a week after that and when im setting up normally I get really bad pains like contractions coms and goes very sharps… any ideas to what’s going on?

  6. I did a pregnancy test 3 in fact 2 being clear blue all saying I’m 3+ weeks and the other with two very strong lines but two days later IVE had bleeding no clots no cramping I’m so scared IVE miscarried can this be normal

  7. I am six weeks pregnant and began lightly bleeding two days ago. Yesterday I went to the er and they said the fetus is still there and heart rate was 86. Which is low. I am bleeding off and on, no cramping or pain. I go back for a blood test tomorrow again. Is this a miscarriage?

  8. I am about 5-6 weeks pregnant and this evening I felt myself bleeding. I went to the restroom and sure enough I experienced quick heavy red colored bleeding. It lasted just a minute and nothing since. No cramping no clots and no more heavy bleeding . I had intercourse last night but I am stressing that I am having a miscarriage now. I have two children and have never experienced anything like this. Please any advice or knowledge would be reassuring to me.


  9. Hi,
    I am a little worried, last year I had three early miscarriages which after many tests have been put down to having antiphospholipid syndrome. This time I have been put on aspirin and a daily shot of clexane (heparin) I had an ultrasound last week at 6weeks 5 days which showed an embryo with a heart beat of 111 and it was the correct size. The only thing the ob was slightly concerned about was that the yolk sac might be measuring slightly larger than normal so I will be going back for another scan in 4 days time to check progress. Yesterday evening I had the slightest amount of sandy coloured cm, had to almost squint to see it and nothing untoward since, however I am getting these short sharp almost like electric shock feeling deep in my cervix. Is this cramping or is this normal growing pains. It’s not constant but comes and goes throughout the day, not unbearable but they make me jump a bit. I guess the larger sized yolk sac is making me more nervous as I keep expecting the worse. I am dreading my scan in 4 days as I am so scared something will go wrong

  10. I have a blood clot on my uterus and I have a lot of painful cramping and low back pain. I am 10 weeks pregnant and Im worried. I feel like my doctor didn’t explain anything to me and acted like it was nothing. I havent had any bleeding but was told this blood clot could dispurse. Should I be worried about this?

  11. Hi dont know if this site is still in use but worth a try. I am 34 yo and would be 7 wks pregnant tomorrow 29th oct. I started spotting brown/pink discharge on Friday 24th and went to my I was scared bcoz I had a miscarriage at 5 wks in august this year. The dr said as it was dark old blood not to worry just have to wait and see what happens over w.end. Saturday I continued spotting and had mild period like pains but nothing too painful. I woke up at 4am sunday morning to use the bathroom and there was red blood on the pad I had been using and a clot slid out of me but with no pain. Since then I have been bleeding getting less but still bright red and some more clots. Not in any pain really. I saw my dr again on Monday (yesterday) and had to do preg test for him. I did two , one clear blue digital said preg 3+ and the drs one was positive. He referred me for a scan tomorrow( weds) but said to do another test that evening as my hcg levels should drop in 12 hrs and if that test was neg then to cancel my scan appt. So I did another test later in the evening and it came back as a strong positive almost immediately. I have done another clear blue digital this am expecting it to say not preg or for preg 1-2, 2-3 as if my hcg levels are dropping but it has come back as preg 3+ still and im still bleeding with occasional small clots. What could be going on? I know when I miscarried in aug I was in a lot of pain but I have not had hardly any only on sunday which was treated ok with just paracetamol. Am so confused. Any help or advice would be gratefully accepted.

  12. I am told I’m about 5/6 weeks along I started bleeding a few days ago first it was brown and now it’s red I’ve went to the doctor they ran test they did a sonogram and since I’m not far along enough I could get the chance to hear it’s heart beating. I’m so worried this is my fourth pregnancy and I don’t think I’ve ever miscarried that I know of I have light cramping but nothing you described should I still be worried??

  13. I think I may have had a miscarriage. I was sure that I wasn’t pregnant because I just started birth control (they tested me) and I haven’t had intercourse since. However, I skipped a period, which is normal for this birth control, but then I had some light bleeding and cramping that felt different than my regular cramps. Then while I was in the bathroom, I felt and then saw some pinkish brown tissue come out into the toilet. It didn’t hurt and there wasn’t a lot of blood. I know that in the grand scheme of things, it’s over and not important, but I just want to know.

  14. I have a 7 year old boy, a 3 year old girl and a 6 month old little girl. I just found out that I’m 7 weeks pregnant with twins. I was on the pill and was planning to tie my tubes. I also considered an abortion but I don’t believe in it. I’m so lost and I have no one to talk to that either understands or cares, they have their opinion without caring about my situation. My children are a handful as it is, my 6 month old is very testing at the moment and requires a lot of my time. Twins are a miracle in my eyes but for my 4th pregnancy it seems unfair and bad timing. I’m alone 80% of the time, my husband runs his own business, what will I do with 5 children. I’m so lost and confused and I don’t know what I’m doing…

  15. I’m 12 weeks pregnant and every time I went to the bathroom for the last 2 weeks when I wipe there is bright red blood slimy stuff hanging out of my vagina. No cramps. It seems to be tapering off today but I notice little particles floating after I pee. And there were 2 the size of peas dots like brown Grey in the toilet. Am I miss carrying with out cramps?

  16. Hi I really really despratley needing to know If a woman dose not know she’s pregnant n starts heavy bleeding she must be approximately 3-5 weeks pregnant and afta the heavy bleed can u be told uve just lost twins? Cos I assume if uve had the heavy bleeding in early stages there’s nothing there how can u be told at the doctors Uve lost twins? Or is it possible? Please can u answer this question for me cos it’s driving me crazy cos I’ve been told the 12 week scan is to see if I’ve got twins or one baby plus the measurement of the baby’s growth. So how can u no u was pregnant with twins after miscarriage of pregnancy u wasn’t aware of in the first place? Sorry for doing ya head in but it’s really bothering me and confusing me. I would much appreciate ya answer and advice and opinion on this thank you very much for taking the time out to read and answer my question thank you once again look forward to hearing from ya matter of fact can’t wait

  17. Hi iam 24, i had unprotected sex 15 days back., Now i got early periods, which is heavy bleeding than my normal bleeding, it is relasing small portions in red color and i have lot of back and abdomen pain. Is anything serious, should i consult doctor. Is it miscarriage? or due to hormonal change it happened am in confusion. can any one help me please.

  18. Hi…. I am so worried …..its my first pregnancy……in the starting of 9 th week I fall on the road but due to support of my hands I was saved n the very next day full day i was in pain after that next day morning after peeing i wiped there was brown discharge just a little bit ….then after a week i felt too much pain in my left side but by takin rest for the whole day i tt vanished now i am in my 10 thweek my all symptom of pregnancy went away after that incident …..i don’t want to loose my baby …..please tell me are all these things dangerous

  19. Is that means I hv missed misscarriage
    ……,,I can’t face this becoz after 3years I got this baby …,my emotions are attached with this baby ….but there is always fear of loosing the baby is in my mind please help me by giving ur important advice …,I can’t afford to go gp again n again …..i told this situation to my go he told me not to worry ….but my all symptoms have gone….i don’t feel pregnant any more…….what can I do please help

  20. Hello. I am not sure if i am really pregnant. My last menstruation was October 23 and on November 23 which i expected my period, it did not come. Did not took pregnancy tests. Later, on Dec.23, i bleed but not so sure f dat was normal mens. It seems to stop earlier as expected. I did not have sore breasts. Did not experience nausea, vomiting and food cravings. Last Dec. 30, and january 4 and jan 10 i took urine tests and all turned out i really pregnant? Bcoz sometimes, i can feel that vaginal discharge is really confused? If ever i am, i am on 11 weeks lmp now..but i dont feel bloated and no bump showed? Please help me understand…thanks

  21. I’m nearly 6 weeks pregnant,up until yesterday I had very sore boobs and slight cramping. But since then nothing boobs are fine I feel normal no symptoms at all. I had an ectopic lady Aug and had my right fallopian tube removed I’m due for an early scan later this week to check viability and whereabouts of this one. I’m so scared I’m about to miscarry in the mean time. I’ve got 3 children all with very slight symptoms but none compleaty went like this. Also I’ve had 2 early miscarriages and a still born at 27 weeks. Very worried right now,keep going to bathroom to check I’m not bleeding.

  22. I actually just found out today that I’m pregnant. I used a clear blue digital with weeks estimator. It said 1-2 weeks. For the past few days I’ve been having awful cramps and at times stabbing pain in my left side, my breasts have been so sore I can hardly stand it! I have 4 children and I have had a complication with each of them, my eldest is a happy, very healthy 14 y/o, I had hyper emesis gravidarum and went into preterm labor at 34 weeks and they couldn’t stop it because I was dilated to a 10, she was 5 lbs 11 Oz not only slightly jaundiced.
    With my 9 year old who is also perfectly healthy, I kept having a feeling something wasn’t right, no pain or signs, went in for monitoring, they decided to induce and after 30 mind of pitocin I was rushed to emergency surgery for a c-section for abruptio placenta. He had no issues,but I was certainly miserable. He weighed 6 lbs 8 oz
    My 3rd child who is nearly 5, she’s fine now,but when I was 36 weeks pregnant I was admitted to the hospital for acute pacreatitis and cholecystits, It was awful. She was born 3 weeks later via scheduled c section at 5 lbs and 7 oz
    And my 4th child who is 3,I went into preterm labor 3 times around during 6 months and had to take procardia for the remainder of preg. She was born at 34 weeks via scheduled c section and weighed 6 lbs
    My Dr tried to order bcp but anything he ordered threw me into gall bladder attacks, so he suggested condoms and spermicides and those have been so successful until now hubby and myself aren’t terribly interested in more kids especially if I’m going to have such severe problems
    Do you think I could be having a tubal or mc? I have previously had 2 mc between 3rd and 4th child

  23. can you have a mis carriage when you cervix is still closed? I ask only because im 8 weeks , went to the hosp as I had some bleeding that lasted 2 min then turned into the dark brown blood , the dr at er did not see anything when she did the ultrasound, could not see the baby . my homones levels were normal , no cramping , When I went to see my Gp , he confirmed the cervix is still closed, so confusing he called it a ( threatening mis carriage) really?

  24. I just missed my period and I took a home pregnancy test and it said I was 2-3 weeks pregnant. I started to wipe after the test and noticed a pink tinge and I’ve been cramping but haven’t had anymore spotting. I have had three miscarriages in the past and I am full of anxiety because I just had a uti two weeks ago that infected my kidneys and I had a cat scan and dye pumped into me. The hospital did blood work and I told them there’s always a possibility I could be pregnant and they never told me anything. I am very concerned if this is okay during my first few weeks or not.

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