Symptoms of a miscarriage include:
- Vaginal bleeding that may be light or heavy, constant or irregular. Although bleeding is often the first sign of a miscarriage, first-trimester bleeding may also occur with a normal pregnancy. But bleeding with pain is a sign that miscarriage is more likely.
- Pain. You may have pelvic cramps, belly pain, or a persistent, dull ache in your lower back. Pain may start a few hours to several days after bleeding has begun.
- Blood clots or grayish (fetal) tissue passing from the vagina.
It is not always easy to tell whether a miscarriage is taking place. A miscarriage often does not occur as a single event but as a chain of events over several days. One woman's physical experience of a miscarriage can be very different from another woman's experience.
Risk factors for miscarriage
Things that may increase your risk of miscarriage include:
- Your age, especially at age 35 and older.
- A history of recurrent miscarriage (three or more).
- Polycystic ovary syndrome, which can cause ovulation problems, obesity, increased male hormone levels, and an increased risk of diabetes.
- Certain bacterial or viral infections during pregnancy.
- A blood-clotting disorder such as antiphospholipid antibody syndrome.
- Problems with the structure of the uterus (such as a uterus with a septum or wall).
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals or certain medicines.
- The father's age, especially after age 35.
- Alcohol use, cigarette smoking, or cocaine use during pregnancy.
- Heavy caffeine use during pregnancy.
It is normal to wonder whether you did something to cause your miscarriage. It may help to know that most miscarriages happen because the fertilized egg in the uterus does not develop normally, not because of something you did. A miscarriage is not caused by stress, exercise, or sex.