Symptoms of miscarriage

Miscarriage is more common than you may realise. The majority of miscarriages happen before others are aware of the pregnancy.

Symptoms of a miscarriage

The most common symptom of miscarriage is bleeding.  This can vary from a light spotting to brown discharge, or a heavy bleed, which may be worse than a normal period.  Some women are shocked by the amount of bleeding.

Pains are another sign.  This cramping or tummy pain may accompany the bleeding, or come alone. It may be mild or severe, a dull ache or sharp pain or feel like backache.

A discharge of fluid from the vagina can also indicate a miscarriage.

You may simply feel that you are not pregnant any more.  Your pregnancy symptoms such as tender breasts or sickness may have gone.

Some women have no signs at all that their baby has died and sadly only discover the loss when they attend a routine antenatal appointment for an ultrasound scan.

This is called a missed miscarriage.

Every woman’s experience of miscarriage is different, but common symptoms include the following:

These symptoms don’t always mean miscarriage

It’s important to know that light vaginal bleeding, or spotting, is common during the first trimester (first 12 weeks of pregnancy) and doesn’t  always mean you are having a miscarriage.  Some pain can also be felt in early pregnancy towards the end of the first trimester as ligaments of your body stretch. Some women can also experience some cramps due to the implantation of the fertilised egg or during or after sex.

Similarly, pregnancy symptoms can vary and may reduce as time goes on.  If you have any concerns about anything you may be feeling, speak to your GP or midwife. If you can’t speak to your GP or midwife call the NHS emergency number 111 at any time of day.

When to seek urgent help

Some miscarriages are caused by a pregnancy which develops outside of the womb.  This is called an ectopic pregnancy. This is a potentially serious situation as there is a risk of internal bleeding.

It’s important to visit your GP or the nearest A&E department if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • severe and persistent abdominal pain, often on one side
  • vaginal bleeding or spotting, most often after the pain has started
  • pains in your shoulder tip
  • diarrhoea and vomiting
  • feeling very faint and light-headed, or fainting

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy usually appear between weeks 5 and 14 of the pregnancy.

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

Sources

    Last reviewed on August 1st, 2016. Next review date August 1st, 2019.

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    Comments

    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 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

      Hi
      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 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

    • By Cynthia diamond (not verified) on 17 Aug 2019 - 07:17

      I am 10weeks gone 2day,I had sex 2days bak Nd since i av been spotting continuously,it first started as light bleeding Nd nw it’s getting dark with no pains or cramps no tissues nor clot either bt am really scared if dis might b a miscarriage.i had same experience wen I was 5w,I spotted till 7weeks...pllsss anybody with same experience am really scared to death nw

    • By maroba (not verified) on 22 Sep 2019 - 03:17

      Iam 10weeks an 3 days i had light bleeding after sex 7days ago it stops after 3days i see brown discharge next 2days blood when i wipe nd its gone i see it only when i wipe. my breast are no more full

    • By Lisa (not verified) on 10 Aug 2019 - 21:47

      I was 6 weeks pregnant but am going through a miscarriage at the moment. It started yesterday with bleeding but today I have such bad cramps I can barely move - is this normal?

    • By Amanda (not verified) on 15 Aug 2019 - 03:22

      I started my miscarriage on the 9th I'm feeling very sad if anyone wants to talk please

    • By Maddie (not verified) on 21 Aug 2019 - 09:01

      Hi Amanda, what you’re going through is a pain I wish you never have to experience again. You are strong and can overcome life’s toughest battles. Keeping you in my thoughts

    • By Tracy Gjorllaku (not verified) on 26 Sep 2019 - 21:42

      The cramps are a sign. Make sure you go to the baby hospital i didnt and ebded up hemorrhage over night. I had abother 6mths later and this time hemorrhage but they had to take me into theatre xx

    • By Cindy (not verified) on 8 Aug 2019 - 14:30

      I had six weeks pregnant and today I had a heavly bleeding and strong one I think I had miscarriage becz it is so heavy and have pains

    • By Lola (not verified) on 19 Aug 2019 - 16:36

      I'm so sorry you had to go through this, my words may not make the pain and sadness go away but I hope it can at least bring you a little comfort,you'll get through this.pls take all thetime you need to heal if possible
      we may not know each other but know that there's someone out there rooting for you

    • By Pauline (not verified) on 3 Aug 2019 - 10:15

      I have had 2 miscarriage the first one at 3 months and I started bleeding thats how I knew it was a miscarriage... The second one was a still birth at 6 months there was no bleeding I went to do a scan and the baby was dead... Now am 16 weeks pregnant and I have had zero movement in my stomach then the symptoms are gone my breast are not sore anymore I have been through this so many times that i kinda feel when something is wrong and now i think the baby is gone am just scared of going to the hospital am not yet ready to go through the pain again physically and emotionally...

    • By sadandconfused (not verified) on 17 Sep 2019 - 18:18

      Hi Pauline,


      I’ve never commented on any kind of thread of any nature before, but I felt particularly moved when I read your comment. I’m currently experiencing my first, and I pray my last miscarriage, and it’s the most awful thing I have had to deal with in my life so far. You sound like an incredibly strong lady and my heart goes out to you. I wish you every luck and happiness for your future, and hope that you get your little bundle of joy one day.

    • By Jess (not verified) on 28 Sep 2019 - 09:25

      Hi Pauline,

      How are you feeling now?
      What happened at the doctor's visit?

    • By Samantha (not verified) on 4 Oct 2019 - 18:33

      So sorry to hear this Pauline. Did you get to find out what was wrong? I am currently 16 weeks and I havemt had the heart to go to the doctor. My body is always in pain. My stomach is starting to grow now only and my breasts aren't that tender. Is this a sign of something wrong?

    • By Sophie (not verified) on 2 Aug 2019 - 05:38

      I’m now 10 weeks pregnant but I just have that feeling that something is wrong. I’ve had no spotting or signs of bleeding, but seem to have lost most symptoms I had a few weeks ago? My breasts feel less swollen and tender, I no longer have any sickness or heartburn (kept getting both) and I don’t feel as drained and feel as tho I’ was gaining weight but now stopped if not lost weight. My lower stomach area also feels abit sore if I put any pressure on it, I’ve noticed these changes in the last 2 weeks? If I was having a miscarriage would I not be bleeding by now? What do I do to find out if I’m right or if the baby is ok?

    • By Cynthia (not verified) on 17 Aug 2019 - 07:03

      Pls av u gone for ur check up wat was d result bcos am scared to death rit it’s seems am on same boat with u

    • By Aaoni (not verified) on 18 Jul 2019 - 08:46

      Hello i have 7 day bleed after 2 month misscarriage and now after that seven days sticky water is coming out and after scan dr says that some clots are in sac she advice me to take 5 days nafcin tablets how long these some clots wil in sac bcz now there is no bleeding

    • By Berenice Mendoza (not verified) on 18 Jul 2019 - 05:23

      I’m 6 weeks pregnant with bleeding but not like I need to use a pad on my underwear just when I wipe but no blood clots and once in a while feel like cramps but I’m not sure if I miscarriage or not I’m so confused and I don’t see my doc until 24 of this month and help plz

    • By FTM (not verified) on 1 Aug 2019 - 23:49

      Just wondering if you have an update.

    • By Kristina (not verified) on 8 Aug 2019 - 17:33

      hi sweetie i just seen your Question I know its late Did you go to hospital? are you ok?

    • By Sah (not verified) on 9 Jul 2019 - 12:06

      Hi, im 6weeks preg. Noticed some spotting 3 days ago which come and go. Went for a scan yesterday Dr said its threatening miscarriage bt i have no pains or cramps. Had a miscarriage 5mths ago and bleeding was heavy and cramping really bad. Not sure if its gonna happen again bt Dr says i have to check again at my next appointment if there is still no heavy bleeding. Anybody who went through thus and won?

    • By Hayley (not verified) on 22 Aug 2019 - 15:17

      I’m the same right now .. what was the outcome

    • By Franny (not verified) on 5 Jul 2019 - 14:20

      Hello, I am about 5 weeks pregnant, I have diarrhea and strong abdominal pain, no bleeding though. I wont be seeing my doct. For another two weeks. Just wanted to see if this was normal or should I schedule an emergency visit?

    • By Unknown (not verified) on 25 Jun 2019 - 17:53

      I have had 4 miscarriages and have had 2 children i am now 5 weeks 6 days and getting cramping pains in lower abdominal period like pains no bleeding or spotting just the warm uncomfortable pains is this normal or should i go a an e. As i say no bleeding just cramps

    • By Lizzie dean (not verified) on 11 Jul 2019 - 21:04

      Hello I'm getting the same pain all in lower belly but no bleeding, I had a miscarriage this time last year but sadly didn't know until me and my partner went for our first scan, the baby had stopped growing at 6 weeks. I went for an internal scan a week and half ago and they said the baby was in the right place, they thought u was having an eptopic and said I was about 5 weeks, I'm just so worried now because the sharp stabbing pain I felt last night stated for ages and today I've lost some discharge, but clear?

    • By Kirsten (not verified) on 18 Aug 2019 - 18:48

      Hello love, I know this post is from a few months ago but I'm kinda going through the same thing and wanted to know your outcome? I have had 3 mc in the last 8 months, I'm currently 6+7. On Friday I had, what I describe as a gush of dark brownish/ red blood. Since then a tiny but of brown spotting, barely anything. Really hoping everything is ok. I have no children and want nothing more then to be a mother.

    • By sue (not verified) on 17 Sep 2019 - 14:00

      what was your outcome, im in the same boat

    • By Worried (not verified) on 21 Jun 2019 - 17:03

      Hello, I had sex on Saturday the 8 of June so I was 11 days late for my period but on the 19 June I have some brown spotting and blood clots and them the day after that my the blood was bright red nd later the day some more blood clots please tell me did I miscarry?

    • By Sanchez (not verified) on 27 Jun 2019 - 00:02

      It sounds like it. Idk if this is your first MC but they are all different I have had a total of 4 counting this on nowatay strong and if you over bleed don’t hesitate to see a doctor also if you are misscarring you need to see an on or midwife so they can check and make sure of confirm

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