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Miscarriage Symptoms: Signs of a Miscarriage

Most of the underlying causes of miscarriage are still unclear, however one should be aware of common symptoms that indicate one. Most of the time, signs of miscarriage can be easily identified to take immediate medical action.
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Sep 13, 2018
Miscarriage is a spontaneous and natural ending of a pregnancy before the baby reaches the gestational age of 20 - 22 weeks. Often the 'contents' consists of just the placenta and no fetus is aborted. This is known as a blighted ovum.
This type of miscarriage often occurs before a woman even knows that she was pregnant. There are several causes of miscarriages. One of the main signs of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding, that occurs with or without cramps.
Signs and Symptoms
There are several signs of a miscarriage. Some of these are not always symptoms, such as spotting and vaginal bleeding. They can occur due to implantation bleeding, that is a normal occurrence during pregnancy in some women. However, if these do happen in a pregnant woman, she should talk to her doctor about it.
The doctor should then examine the woman or at least make note of it. Should these signs continue and heavier bleeding than normal takes place (especially, if it is very early in the pregnancy); then miscarriage might very well be taking place. Some of the signs and symptoms include:
» Abnormal bleeding that includes blood clots or tissue; this is a sure sign of a miscarriage.
» If a woman finds, she has passed fetal tissue she needs to place it in a clean bowl or container if possible and take it to the doctor for examination. This may help find out any possible reason for the miscarriage (fetal developmental problems).
» Other definite signs include abnormal weight loss, brownish or pink discharge, cramping or painful contractions anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.
» Decreased breast tenderness, and other signs of pregnancy such as morning sickness, loss of a fetal heartbeat and a sudden lack of fetal movement are also few other symptoms giving good indications of miscarriage.
» It should also be noted that cramping (abdominal or in the lower back) is not always present during a miscarriage and it may vary in its severity (mild, moderate or severe).
» A woman should contact the emergency department immediately, if she experiences a gush of fluid from her vagina. This fluid loss may occur with or without abdominal pain.
Unexplained Circumstances
The cause of a miscarriage is not possible to determine in most cases. Sometimes, the problems arise due to unknown conditions like chromosomal disorders (which increase as the mother gets older). Other unknown causes include blighted ovum, intrauterine fetal demise and molar pregnancy.
Molar pregnancy is an abnormality, that causes fertilization problem. The placenta develops into a fast-growing mass of cysts that may or may not contain the embryo. If there is an embryo, it will never be able to reach maturity.
At times, it is caused by infectious diseases such as parvovirus B19, rubella, herpes simplex, and cytomegalovirus as well as severe cases of malaria. Some of the diseases like diabetes (which usually can be controlled during pregnancy), hormonal problems such as thyroid problems or polycystic ovarian syndrome can lead to miscarriages.
Another set of causes include collagen vascular diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. There are blood tests that can be used to determine the presence of these conditions.
Uterine Abnormalities
Abnormal anatomy of the uterus is another reason for miscarriages. A couple of these abnormalities include a tissue bridge or a septum dividing the uterus into sections. This would hamper the chances of an embryo to be implanted in this septum, leading to a greater possibility of miscarriage in this case.
In addition, a tipped uterus (where the uterus is tipped to either side or towards the front), has a higher risk of miscarriage because the embryo would implant very low in the uterus.
If the miscarriage happens in the early stages of pregnancy and upon examination the doctor finds that no remains of the pregnancy are present then the woman may be observed by the doctor for a few days, but that may be all that is necessary. This is known as a complete (natural, not intended) abortion.
However, if a doctor upon examination finds that there is tissue or partial remains of the placenta, then a procedure known as a dilation and curettage (D&C) would be carried out. This is a surgical procedure that simply removes the remains of the pregnancy to prevent further infection in the uterus.
A miscarriage in the first trimester is mostly without severe complications. However, should a miscarriage take place after the first trimester of pregnancy, the doctor will perform any one or more of these tests to learn more about the cause of the miscarriage.
Some of these tests are:
  • Blood tests are done to look for disorders whether they be hormonal (thyroid etc), immune system disorders or chromosomal in nature.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound is used to look for any deformities in the reproductive area.
  • MRI used after other test to confirm the results of the structure of the reproductive area.
These are some possible tests taken to investigate the reproductive health of a woman who has had a miscarriage.

Miscarriage causes a great deal of heartache to expecting mothers. However, one should not lose hope and try again for a successful pregnancy. There are women who have given birth to healthy babies even after suffering two successive miscarriages.
However, if a woman suffers from three consecutive miscarriages, a doctor will take a closer look and see if there is a more significant problem causing these multiple miscarriages.
Signs of a miscarriage often emote the sensations and discomfort one feels during their periods or menstrual cycle. If one is expecting and finds their motherly instinct ringing a bell, she should immediately visit the doctor. It is always better to save the situation, than suffer from an untimely end of pregnancy.
Disclaimer: This is intended for information purpose only. Do not use the information presented herein as a substitute for medical practitioner's advice.