Signs of Miscarriage

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 09, 2022
3 min read

If you're like most pregnant women, you may worry about having a miscarriage. A miscarriage is the sudden loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks. You may not know when you have a miscarriage because many happen before you even miss a period or know you're pregnant. Most happen before week 13, within the first trimester.

You usually can’t prevent a miscarriage. So if it happens, try not to heap guilt onto yourself. You've done nothing to cause this.

These may also be signs of something else. To be safe, call your doctor if you have any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Spotting

  • Vaginal bleeding that starts light and becomes heavy

  • Cramps

  • Belly or back pain

  • Fever

  • Weakness

  • Vomiting

  • Leaking of tissue, clots, or fluid from your vagina

  • White-pink mucus

  • Weight loss

  • A sudden drop in the signs of pregnancy, such as nausea and tender breasts

  • Contractions

Another problem that can happen with pregnancy and causes symptoms of miscarriage is an ectopic pregnancy. This is when the embryo attaches somewhere other than your womb (uterus), most of the time in one of your fallopian tubes. This is an emergency, and you should call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Belly pain

  • Bleeding or spotting

  • Shoulder pain or the urge to poop (the sign of blood leaking from the fallopian tube)

  • Lightheadedness or fainting

A miscarriage can also cause an infection. If you have any of these signs, contact your doctor right away. You may need to go to the doctor's office or to the emergency room.

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Belly pain

Your doctor will confirm a miscarriage with a pelvic exam and an ultrasound. If the miscarriage is complete and your uterus is clear, you may not need more treatment.

If the uterus isn’t clear, you may need one of these treatments:

  • Dilation and curettage (D & C). During this procedure, the doctor dilates your cervix to gently remove any remaining fetal or placental tissue from your uterus.

  • Medication. As an alternative to a D & C, you may take a medication, such as misoprostol, to make your uterus clear itself. The result will be like a period.

If you need treatment after a miscarriage, talk with your doctor which option might be better for you. For example, treating a miscarriage with medicine isn’t an option if you have an infection.