I think I'm having a miscarriage

Get help or advice quickly if you experience symptoms of miscarriage during your pregnancy. If you have any bleeding in pregnancy with or without pain, it’s very important to get it checked out.

What to do if you think you’re having a miscarriage

If you notice any miscarriage symptoms, especially vaginal bleeding or stomach pain, contact your GP, midwife or Early Pregnancy Unit straight away. You can also call the NHS emergency number 111 at any time of day.

If you are bleeding, use a clean sanitary pad. Do not use tampons, because they can increase the risk of infection. It’s a good idea to monitor the bleeding and make a note of what it is like, so you can tell your healthcare professional.

It’s common to have light bleeding or spotting without pain before 12 weeks. This isn’t often serious, but it’s important to be checked, just in case.

Bleeding in pregnancy after 12 weeks is not common. Contact A&E or your hospital maternity unit immediately so you can be checked.

Take your sanitary pad to show your healthcare professional. It may also help to tell them if you feel any changes from your usual pregnancy symptoms. You can make a note of these if it helps.

When to seek urgent help

You should seek medical help urgently if:

  • you have severe bleeding – such as soaking through your pad every hour or less
  • you have severe stomach pain or feel dizzy and faint.

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should get help from your GP or the nearest A&E department immediately. These are symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, where the baby grows outside the womb. In rare cases, an ectopic pregnancy can grow large enough to split open the fallopian tube. This is known as a rupture.

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy usually appear between 4 and 12 weeks of pregnancy. They include:

  • tummy pain low down on 1 side
  • vaginal bleeding or a brown watery discharge
  • pain in the tip of your shoulder
  • discomfort when peeing or pooing.

These symptoms aren’t always a sign that something is wrong, but it’s important to get checked immediately.

NHS Choices. Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vaginal-bleeding-pregnant/ (Page last reviewed 26/1/2018 Next review due 26/1/2021)

NHS Choices Ectopic pregnancy https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/ (Page last reviewed 27/11/2018 Next review due 27/11/2021)

Review dates

Last reviewed: 6 February 2020
Next review: 6 February 2023