The most common signs of miscarriage are heavy bleeding, perhaps with blood clots, and strong period-type pains. Sometimes however a miscarriage can occur without any symptoms at all.
If a miscarriage is really under way, unfortunately it will take its course no matter how much we wish it wasn’t so. The signs of a miscarriage will depend on the gestation of your pregnancy. Most women will experience something similar to a heavy period, with slightly more cramping and bleeding than usual. Others can experience labour-like cramping, and pass large clots, particularly if it’s later in the first trimester.
In some cases, there are no signs or symptoms at all, and a woman will have no idea that anything is wrong until a routine scan shows that the baby has no heartbeat and stopped growing at an earlier time. This will obviously come as a huge shock and be devastating for the woman and her partner.
In general, it is best to see your healthcare professional if any of these occur:
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting
- Dull lower back pain/pressure
- Changes to vaginal discharge
It is important to remember to use sanitary pads not tampons during a miscarriage, as these can lead to infection.
On rare occasions, miscarriages happen because the pregnancy develops outside the womb – most commonly in the fallopian tube. This is known as an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies are potentially serious as there’s a risk you could experience internal bleeding, and in some cases your fallopian tube can rupture. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy usually appear between weeks 5 and 14 of the pregnancy.
Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may include:
- Persistent and severe abdominal pain, usually on one side
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting, commonly after the pain has started
- Pain in your shoulder tip
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Feeling very faint and light-headed, and possibly fainting
Please remember this is a guide only. Get in contact with your healthcare professional if you are worried and in case of emergency, visit your nearest Emergency department or call 000.