Miscarriage symptoms

The most common symptom of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding, but there are other symptoms to be aware of. Contact your GP, midwife or nearest Early Pregnancy Unit if you think you are having a miscarriage.

Vaginal bleeding

Vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom of miscarriage. This varies from light spotting or brown discharge, to a heavy bleed that may be heavier than a normal period.

Light bleeding before 12 weeks (during your first trimester) of pregnancy can be quite common and is not always a sign of miscarriage. But you should always contact your midwife or GP straight away if you have any bleeding, with or without pain, at any point in your pregnancy.

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

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.

Stomach (abdominal) pain or cramping

Some pain and very light cramps in the stomach (abdominal) area in early pregnancy is not unusual. Mild stomach pain in early pregnancy (during your first trimester) is usually caused by your womb expanding, the ligaments stretching as your bump grows, hormones, constipation or trapped wind.

However, cramping and pain in your lower tummy may be caused by a miscarriage. If you have any concerns about any pains you’re having, or even if you just feel like something is wrong, contact your midwife.

Do not be concerned about wasting anyone’s time. It’s always best to get things checked out.

Find out more about stomach pain in pregnancy.

Other symptoms

When you are experiencing a miscarriage, you may also notice the following symptoms:

  • discharge of fluid from your vagina
  • a discharge of tissue from your vagina
  • no longer experiencing pregnancy symptoms, such as feeling sick and tender breasts (although these symptoms may lessen or go away after the first trimester)

When to get checked

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, especially vaginal bleeding or pain, you should contact your GP, midwife or nearest Early Pregnancy Unit straight away. You can also call the NHS 111 at any time of day or night.

Missed (or delayed) miscarriage

Some women do not have any symptoms that show they are having a miscarriage. This is called a missed miscarriage. In this case, women usually find out when they attend a routine antenatal appointment as it may not be possible to find the baby’s heartbeat during the ultrasound scan.

Ectopic pregnancy

Some miscarriages are caused by a pregnancy that develops outside of the womb. This is called an ectopic pregnancy. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy usually appear between weeks 4 and 12.

You should seek medical advice immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • persistent and severe tummy 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 lightheaded, and possibly fainting.

Call 999 for an ambulance or visit your nearest A&E department if you:

  • have sharp, sudden and intense stomach pains
  • feel very dizzy or faint
  • feel sick
  • look very pale. 

Research into why miscarriage happens

Most of the miscarriage research carried out in the UK happens in the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research, which only opened in 2016. Historically there has been a lack of research into miscarriage and because of this the causes are still not very well understood. The animation below shows the progress into understanding the reasons for miscarriage, particularly miscarriage that is not caused by chromosomal abnormalities.

More miscarriage support

  • woman at work

    Going back to work after a miscarriage

    There is no right or wrong way to feel after experiencing a miscarriage. Some people may want to return to work as quickly as possible, others may need more time to grieve. Take time to work out what’s best for you.

  • Online communities for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth

    A list of the best supportive blogs, instagram and Facebook accounts from parents who have gone through miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, neonatal death and termination for medical reasons (TMFR)

  • Woman looking at dictionary.

    Miscarriage terminology explained

    Medical terms can be confusing. We have explained some of the more common medical terms here. Some of these may seem insensitive or cold, but try to remember that these are just medical terms.

  • A woman having her pregnancy history taken by a health professional

    Preventing miscarriage

    It’s generally thought that most miscarriages can’t be prevented. But we hope to change this with more research.


Harville EW et al. (2003) Vaginal bleeding in very early pregnancy. Human Reproduction. Volume 18, Issue 9, 1 September 2003, Pages 1944–1947

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

NHS Choices Miscarriage diagnosis. www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/diagnosis (Page last reviewed: 08/02/2018. Next review due: 08/02/2021)

NHS Choices Miscarriage symptoms. www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/symptoms/ (Page last reviewed: 01/06/2018. Next review due: 01/06/2021)

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    Last reviewed on April 17th, 2020. Next review date April 17th, 2023.

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Cat (not verified) on 6 Jul 2020 - 22:58

      I'm 5 weeks pregnant and I feel weak sometimes and I'm experiencing lower abdominal pain..is this a sign of miscarriage?

    • By Mumof2 (not verified) on 2 Jul 2020 - 17:35

      I had a heavy bleed bright red filled 2 pads. Went for a scan and baby fine measured right. Said clotting could be seen. Since returning home I started bleeding again that evening dark brownish very light for a day and a half now seems slightly heavier and stringy. Is this normal or may I still have a miscarriage??

    • By Lauren (not verified) on 27 Jun 2020 - 23:30

      I had a missed miscarriage last December which was just awful,we were toldat the 12 week scan,I was overjoyed to find out im pregnant again,im about about 6 weeks.
      The last few nights ive had awful cramps during the night but no bleeding,now I dont have any feelings of being pregnant.Last time I didn't feel pregnant but I didnt think anything of it as I didn't have any pain or bleeding so when I found out id had a missed miscarriage I was devastated.Now im worried something is wrong again.
      When youve had one bad experience it never leaves you.
      As I woman sometimes I think we just have that feeling...and I don't want to have it but I cant stop thinking my babies not ok

    • By Alyx (not verified) on 22 Jun 2020 - 15:45

      This is a long one,

      So it's June 22nd, and I believe I've had a miscarriage. I was due my period on and around the 1st of June. I had coitus with my partner on the 18th of May. On the 18th of June, I thought I threw my back out. The pain was excruciating and severe. It knocked me over and immobilised me. I had something similar to contractions but in my lower back and just couldn't sleep. There was a lot of pressure in my lower tummy. I had a hot bath yesterday, to ease the back pain. About 20 minutes after my bath, I stood up and a lot of blood, warm and watery, came out without warning. It was like a load of pressure, and then my lower back pain eased. I am not sure if this was a miscarriage. The blood was very bright and only little bits of stringy clot. It stopped last night before bed, but I woke up soaked in it. I'm very upset, having little sharp pains in my lower left tummy. I'm still feeling the little pokes that I got when I was pregnant with my first. But I just feel so very alone at the minute.

    • By Steph (not verified) on 19 Jun 2020 - 21:54

      I have had no bleeding and morning sickness and tiredness im only 8 weeks is this a good sighn

    • By Angie (not verified) on 14 Jun 2020 - 16:58

      I’m four weeks pregnant and I started feeling weary and burdened on Friday. some minute to 2 pm I started having severe back pain and abdominal pain when I went to pee I wiped pinkish blood then Saturday night each time I pee the bleeding gets more with lower abdomen pain and clots. Sunday morning bleeding continues with lower abdomen pain and weakness

    • By Phindulo ayanda (not verified) on 20 May 2020 - 12:43

      Am bleeding and hearing periods pain am l am losing my baby but am still hearing my symptoms of pregnancy

    • By Kifilwe (not verified) on 3 May 2020 - 12:02

      I woke up, one morning feeling cold with a back pain, then i was 8weeks and 4days preg, i added more blankets since i thought maybe am catching cold somehow, i felt something thick coming out on my panty, i released the is no way it can be discharge, i came out from my bed, it was a very thick blood clots... Immediately i rushed to the public clinics, they placed a drip check if my womb is still close yet... Then waited for ambulance to take me to hospital, then they ranup scan, which the said, the is no a sign off a heart bit, nor a embryo.... Is it possible that u can be pregnant with all the hormones but, so as the test, but ur utters empty?

    • By Steph (not verified) on 22 Apr 2020 - 14:47

      I am 5 weeks+5 pregnant. Last Friday I experienced some spotting which varied between light pink to bright red, it was never enough to reach my underwear or a pad, i never experienced any pain. This carried on over the weekend until it came to a sudden stop on Monday night. Is there a chance of miscarriage or is it a good sign it stopped? Midwife won’t scan as I’m too early :-( still have pregnancy symptoms such as tender breasts, fatigue, lack of appetite

    • By Grace (not verified) on 7 Apr 2020 - 10:26

      When I was 5 weeks pregnant I went for scanning and was told there are 2 sacs then at 10weeks I had sporting for 4hours . Then at 13 weeks went for MacDonald suture because cervix is in competence then I went at 14 weeks for scan again was told that the there is one sac but no embryo. Was told to undo the suture but I refused and am not bleeding up today. Any advice pliz.

    • By Fola (not verified) on 3 Apr 2020 - 14:17

      I'm 8weeks but now am seen something like like liver from my urine and am having backache please I'm losing my baby?

    • By Rakel (not verified) on 2 Apr 2020 - 20:10

      I woke up in the morning went to the wash room to pee then blood clots came out and that was it followed by brown discharge and sometimes fadded blood that happened for one week my breast are tender I had a pg test today and was found positive ..could it be I had a miscarriage and I don't know?

    • By Vivian (not verified) on 26 Mar 2020 - 10:07

      Am 8 wks pregnant, went for scan at 6 wks because I don't feel pregnant symptoms anymore and My Dr. Saw an empty sac. He placed me on injection for 5 weeks to prevent miscarriage, I have taken the injection 2 times because is once in a week. But now am spotting red blood like period with cramp. Am I miscarrying my baby?

    • By Thobi (not verified) on 7 Mar 2020 - 08:35

      I had bleeding not full pad for 6days now am 8weeks pregnant an the scan said can see the heartbeat only se the sac

    • By Amanda (not verified) on 21 Mar 2020 - 16:48

      I have been having brown discharge for almost a week. Doesn't fill a pad, very tiny amount discharging throughout the day. My breast only feel tender at the end of the day when I remove my bra. No cramping or any pain. Anyone have these symptoms and go on to have a healthy pregnancy?

    • By Ruksa (not verified) on 11 Jul 2020 - 12:53

      I hame same type of symptoms

    • By confidence (not verified) on 6 Mar 2020 - 19:10

      M 11 weeks pregnant,I see little sporting sometimes and after sex.I still have morning sickness, am I loosing my babe???

    • By Stephanie (not verified) on 25 Feb 2020 - 18:33

      I am 8 weeks pregnant. At week 7 I went to the bathroom was slightly constipated, when I wiped therebwas some light pink spotting. It stopped. 6 hours later it started again. Then a few hours later stopped. Around 4 am the next morning I had period like cramps and more spotting so we went to emergency care. They did all their test and exams, babys heartbeat was 13r bpm placenta was good cervix was closed hcg was 1600. I had the beginning of bacterial Vaginosis so they prescribed a week of antibiotics. Since I have completed them I wasn't cramping or spotting as often until around 3 pm i would start cramping like period cramps and would spot again lightly for a few hours and again would stop. Last night my boyfriend and I had sex, everything was fine, no pain or blood, then I moved and there was something that looked clear with maybe a drop of blood mixed with it. My boyfriend picked it up with a Kleenex, now it looks like tissue or a clot maybe??? But still cramps or spotting!?!?!?!? I only have one child he is 10 years old, The only complications with him were my epilepsy seizures increasing. I am scared we lost this baby and we don't know. I'm afraid the hospital won't take me seriously since I just completed my antibiotic and had no pain or blood when or after passing the tissue or clot whichever it was... I'm still waiting on my insurance so I can see and obgyn. I don't know what to do!!! Anyone please help!!!

    • By Tonya (not verified) on 17 Mar 2020 - 13:37

      honey, do NOT worry about what ANYONE THINKS nor says .... while ur pregnant, anything ur not sure about and or concerned about, call your dr abd after hours go to walk in or e.r. it's nothing to fuss nor question other people's idea of u abt. screw everyone, its your body anf your health as well as the baby. is nothing to play with. get checked immediately.

    • By Joy (not verified) on 30 Jan 2020 - 03:42

      I'm 5 weeks 4 days, I started seeing blood then rushed to the hospital, after scan doc said the sac collapsed and its remaining small. Then the next day blood clots started coming out small doc checked again and told me he could no longer see the sac. Since 6 days now pink blood has been coming out. And I've had a lot of miscarriages

    • By Mama (not verified) on 19 Jan 2020 - 19:08

      I'm 5 weeks preg and serious backache, waist pain and a watery coloured discharge

    • By Allison (not verified) on 16 Jan 2020 - 10:54

      Hello Everyone, i had 3 miscarriages, 2last year 2019 and one was last night 01/16/20 my husband blamed me for not being able to have a healthy pregnancy. Last night when i was having pain oassing out alot if blood but the look in his eyes made me wanna pray to God to switch the the of the baby to my own life. He apologize to me for how he reacted but still i know that he wanna leave me.

    • By hana (not verified) on 25 Jan 2020 - 00:21

      I'm so sorry to hear. it isn't your fault. I hope you get the support that you need in this very difficult time. God Bless you.

    • By Nikky (not verified) on 15 Jan 2020 - 10:03

      I miscarried a pregnancy of about 13weeks which I wasn't aware of last Friday.
      Being discharged from hospital, but I'm still having chronic back and leg cramp to the new extend that I have can sleep at night because of the pain.

      Anyone with such experience? Advice please

    • By nicole (not verified) on 29 Feb 2020 - 09:51

      If they had to perform a DNC, or even if you had a natural miscarriage there may be some tissue from the pregnancy left behind. I would go to you OB ASAP

    • By Abgail (not verified) on 27 Nov 2019 - 08:07

      Hellow,I was bleeding since day one but Yesterday a strange thin long and small cloth came out of my womb and the bleeding stopped symptoms reduced...does that means l did a miscarriage?

    • By Brenda (not verified) on 17 Nov 2019 - 08:43

      Hi I am 4+ weeks pregnant since I got pregnant I have a very painful stomach aches with a headache,i cont eat food,i am not bleeding but I have watery discharge.i only have sore breast as a symptom of pregnancy nothing more... please help

    • By Tee (not verified) on 17 Nov 2019 - 04:48

      Hi i am about 6weeks, 4days preg and previously had lost 4 pregnancies,4daysback symptoms vanished i dont feel anymore preg can i be miscarring.please help

    • By Unknown (not verified) on 10 Nov 2019 - 21:13

      Im turning 8 weeks pregnant ive no pain or sickness or anything noticed brownish discharge now has turned into red blood not major heavy but is red and no clots can any please tell me whats happening

    • By Unknown (not verified) on 14 Nov 2019 - 10:45

      I will advise you to go yo your doctor and ask them for an emergency scan. In my first pregnancy at 8 weeks I had spotting and after emergency scan, it was not a viable pregnancy.
      Hopefully it will be nothing in your case but it is always good to get these things checked.
      I really hope all is well with you and the baby

    • By Oni Grace (not verified) on 31 Oct 2019 - 10:39

      I am six weeks n 2day pregnant ,on Sunday I had pain on my chest ,the midwife gave me ibuprophen tab which I took 2 tablet, the next day I began to see light bleeding, what should I do?

    • By Unknown (not verified) on 14 Nov 2019 - 11:00

      I am bit surprised if the midwife gave you ibrufin. As i recall in pregnancy you are strictly told not to have any anti-inflammatory drugs . I know paracetamol is safe but please speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication. Please go and see your doctor and request an early scan.
      Hopefully everything will be fine.

    • By Unique_girl (not verified) on 26 Oct 2019 - 23:37

      I just need to confirm that I actually is losing my baby. I was 9 weeks & 3 days pregnant, now I’m bleeding heavily with blood clots and pain in my lower abdomen. Any response is appreciated.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Oct 2019 - 12:23

      Dear Unique Girl
      You need to seek urgent medical review for yourself, either via your GP or via A&E minors if you are bleeding heavily and in severe pain. Please take good care of yourself, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Nikki lumsden (not verified) on 21 Oct 2019 - 13:27

      I am 12 weeks 2 days pregnant had a scan at 7 weeks got told could see sac baby and heartbeat last night I wiped myself and there was brown discharge had slight period like pains this morning I wipe it's turning redder but not heavy just when I wipe due my dating scan tomoz do I wait till scan tomoz or am I losing the baby so scared

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 29 Sep 2019 - 08:47

      Please help me out I don't want to lose my baby am having a serious bleeding but no pain am only 5 weeks pregnant and is my first pregnancy for a long time of praying, Please I need this baby

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Sep 2019 - 12:04

      Hi there. I'm sorry to hear that you are having bleeding. Please go to your GP or early pregnancy unit for review. Take care, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Felicia Brown (not verified) on 15 Oct 2019 - 08:17

      For 2 weeks I have been spotting just enough to fill a panty liner I'm supposed to be almost 8 weeks but technically 6 weeks if that makes sense because the Umbreon never grew and now the sac it's collapsing in disenerating they tried to tell me bleeding was normal but something in my mind said that it wasn't only because it started off Brown then red then dark red it's been like this for 14 days today and yesterday hardly nothing go figure I found out today that the sac it's basically gone in the embryo never implanted my ACG levels kept going up but that didn't mean anything because I guess my body still thought that I was pregnant is so tricky and annoying

    • By Chane (not verified) on 19 Nov 2019 - 17:13

      Im suppose to be almost 6 weeks but i started bleeding just the one time.. And when i went for a early sonar there was no sac.. No nothing.. The dr said that the embryo didn't attach to the uterus.. And im having sharp pains today but no bleeding again..

    • By Sally omiunu (not verified) on 22 Oct 2019 - 12:30

      Pls tell me if am going thru a miscarriage.

    • By Suichiko (not verified) on 3 Sep 2019 - 22:03

      Hi. This is the first time it happened. I saw bloods in my underwear when I woke up...knowing my menstrual period is on Sept. 16. It's too early for my period. Am I having an early miscarriage?

    • By Fola (not verified) on 3 Apr 2020 - 13:46

      I'm 8wks now but no symptoms of pregnancy again but this morning I saw one thing like liver please I'm losing my baby ?if yes ,what can I do?

    • By Boni (not verified) on 29 Aug 2019 - 14:47

      Hallow I am 7weeks pregnant and I have severe back ache and have drained liquid discharge at least twise,however,I still have all pregnancy symptoms.....should I be worried?!

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 30 Aug 2019 - 12:54

      Hi, I just found out at 8 week scan that I have miscarried. My pregnancy symptoms are the worst they’ve been despite the fact that the ‘baby’ does Dover 2 weeks ago. Don’t rely on the symptoms as comfort you are ok as with a silent miscarriage your body still thinks you are pregnant so continues to produce the hormones. I really hope you are ok as I wouldn’t want anyone to feel the way I do right now

    • By Princess (not verified) on 21 Aug 2019 - 22:25

      Hi i would like to know your opinions, I already took urine pregnancy test the result is faint positive then i also took blood pregnancy test just to make sure if I am really pregnant, it shows positive. I visit my doctor she scheduled me nextweek for laboratories and transvaginal ultrasound but the next morning there's a light spot on my underwear i panicked so I visit my doctor again, sadly my doctor was not around so I visit another doctor she scheduled me right away a transvaginal ultrasound to see the baby but unfortunately while having the ultrasound the doctor says that it was too early to see the baby, she haven't seen my baby because of early pregnancy it is only 4wks so she suggested me to be back a week after, im worried because i keep on bleeding a very light bleeding one time there's a small clots, im having cramps sometimes but not that strong it is only noticeable but it does not last long. What im scared of i keep of spotting until the 4th day, later i will go to my doctor to have an ultrasound, can't wait. Anyone experiencing this? Thanks

    • By Thalia (not verified) on 28 Aug 2019 - 21:02

      Hi, it’s. Bernard over a week since I went to my first ultrasound visit. 7.5 weeks. The Dr. did not see a heartbeat. There was a sac no embryo.

      I keep getting positive pregnancy tests. I have not had any pain, or bleeding.

      How long till this naturally goes away and I get my period? Did the Dr. make a mistake?

    • By Ricki Mitchell (not verified) on 19 Nov 2019 - 02:57

      I was 7weeks exactly and i was told via ultrasound and transvaginal ultrasound yeaterday that we only had a sac and no baby and it was in fact in the uterus because they though it was and ectopic, thank God is wasn't. Dr told me to go home and wait for thr bleed and pain, pain just like normal period cramping pain, i thought that was weird, i am a first timer being pregnant so i dont know anything of whats going on. I have no bleeding so far but i have a bit pain just niggly ones for now, so hoping for the bleed soon to hurry up and gwt it over with. I am feeling abit nauseous as well and feeling not myself. I still done pregnancy test and they are coming up positive too, i can handle it anymore. I hope you have sorted it out. Blessings

    • By Zaza (not verified) on 3 Sep 2019 - 09:08

      I'm 4+ weeks pregnant, now on bed rest for a week as I started bleeding a lot doctor's treating it as threatened miscarriage. I've taken blood test yesterday and will go again tomorrow. The waiting is killing me as am still bleeding but not as heavy as when it started. Am now spotting brown or light pink.
      I'm dreading the doctor's visit Thursday ☹️

    • By Tara (not verified) on 17 Nov 2019 - 00:30

      I'm currently going through this! Let's keep our fingers crossed.

    • By Bonnie (not verified) on 7 Oct 2019 - 13:31

      Just here to get advice from other women like myself

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