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Miscarriage Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of miscarriage can vary widely. In some cases, a pregnancy can be lost so early that a woman was not even aware she was pregnant. In other cases, the only sign of miscarriage may be that a woman’s period came a few days later than normal. On the other side of the spectrum the symptoms of miscarriage can be quite obvious or severe.

Early Miscarriage Signs and Symptoms

The most common finding in women who have had a very early miscarriage is having no symptoms at all. Various signs and symptoms might include one or more of the following:

Menstrual cycle abnormalities

  • Late period
  • Heavier than normal period
  • A period that lasts more days than usual

Testing abnormalities

  • A home test was positive but has now turned negative
  • A serum pregnancy test was positive but has now turned negative
  • A serum pregnancy test measuring hCG levels was previously increasing but has now started dropping

Other physical sensations

  • Loss of breast tenderness
  • Loss of nausea
  • Subjective feeling of "not being pregnant"

Later Miscarriage Signs and Symptoms

The further a pregnancy has progressed the more likely it is that a woman may experience signs and symptoms that are commonly associated with miscarriage.

Abnormal bleeding

  • Dark brown spotting
  • Light pink spotting
  • Bright red spotting
  • Bright red bleeding
  • Passing blood clots – many women who aren’t used to seeing blood clots normally during their menstrual flow may think that they are passing pregnancy tissue. While this is true occasionally, it is far more common to pass clots alone.

Physical symptoms

  • Lower pelvic cramping
  • Severe pelvic cramping
  • Generalized or diffuse pelvic pain
  • Note: Pain in a pregnant patient may also be a symptom of a more serious problem such as an ectopic pregnancy or a ruptured ovarian cyst. Any severe pain or pain that is localized to one side or the other should be thoroughly investigated.

Testing abnormalities

  • A serum pregnancy test measuring hCG levels was previously increasing but has now started dropping
  • Ultrasound reveals a fetus without a heartbeat
  • Two Ultrasounds a week apart have failed to show any change
  • An ultrasound previously showed a pregnancy in the uterus but it is no longer visible
  • Note: At this point a lost pregnancy may still result in a positive home test or blood test. A quantitative level is needed to show the numbers are decreasing.

Other physical sensations

  • Loss of breast tenderness
  • Loss of nausea
  • Subjective feeling of "not being pregnant"