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.

More about miscarriage


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

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  • By Jasmin (not verified) on 12 Mar 2019 - 07:12

    I need some advice I’ve just had another miscarriage now that’s two in a row I’ve had two healthy children and we have been trying for another for ages now and I just keep having a miscarriage does anyone have any
    Advice I’m getting pregnant but it’s not getting to 5 weeks and my second miscarriage was worst that the first I’m gutted

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Mar 2019 - 16:07

    Hi Jasmin,
    I am so sorry to hear about your recent miscarriages, if we can support you then please do email us, [email protected]
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Lei (not verified) on 11 Mar 2019 - 03:23

    I bled yesterday and stopped. Then when i woke up this morning i have spots. Brownish ones. Before that i experienced severe cramping. 1month pregnent here. Is it miscarriage?

  • By Katie (not verified) on 4 Mar 2019 - 10:22

    Hi I don’t know if I’m haven a miscarriage I didn’t even know I was pregnant but I had a dull back ache for 2 days then I had stomach cramping really bad then I had bloody brownish watery discharge but still cramping really bad then I came on really Heavy and losing dark bloody clots I was in the shower and pinkish jelly stuff came out I’m still bleeding with cramps but I feel really disappointed me and my partner have been trying for years

  • By Josull (not verified) on 3 Mar 2019 - 03:42

    Hi. I have had a previous missed miscarriage. I am approx 4/5 weeks pregnant ( can’t be further along due to time of intercourse ). I did have dark lines on a First Response at start of week when I found out - and yesterday they were so light it was almost negative. My nausea and tiredness have disappeared. What does this mean? I’m so scared. My EPU won’t see me until I’m nearly at 7 weeks so I’m in this awful limbo. Any help gratefully recieved. Jen

  • By anonymous (not verified) on 1 Mar 2019 - 06:40

    I texted positive after spotting blood and bleeding heavily with cramps.I have never experienced abdominal cramps us as such.please what will that be

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Mar 2019 - 11:55

    Hi there,
    It sounds like it would be a good idea to see your GP for a review. If you are feeling unwell or passing a large amount of blood then it would be better to go straight to A+E.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Jamie (not verified) on 27 Feb 2019 - 10:17


    I am 5 weeks pregnant and started spotting yesterday a little and then it stopped. I have woke up this morning okay and just started lightly spotting again. Is this a sign of miscarriage as I am worrying out my mind

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Feb 2019 - 14:16

    Hi Jamie, bleeding at any gestation of pregnancy is deemed abnormal until reviewed. So please go to your GP urgently for review - today if possible. If you start to bleed heavily or are in severe pain during out of hours at your GP surgery, please go straight to hospital to be seen in A&E minors. Take care, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Susie (not verified) on 29 Jan 2019 - 11:56

    Hi, a few days so I had some brown discharge which has since stopped but the last two nights I have had some back ache, pains down my legs and across my pubic bone, they seem to fade in the day time. I also have reduced pregnancy symptoms and my hair is falling out by the handful. I have a scan at my local EPU booked in for tomorrow but am worrying myself sick. Is there any hope for this pregnancy? I had a miscarriage last year which started with bleeding.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jan 2019 - 14:54

    Hi Susie. I am sorry to hear what an anxious time you are going through. It is really very difficult to know either way. Pregnancy symptoms can hugely vary between each woman and each pregnancy, so there is no one size fits all advice. If you are in discomfort, please feel free to take 1g (x2 tablets) of paracetamol. These are pregnancy safe and might just take the edge off the aches and pains that you are experiencing. If the pain becomes severe overnight, please do go to your local A&E walk in centre for urgent review. Otherwise, I think your best bet, is to try to rest at home from now until your appointment at the EPU tomorrow. I know its hard to keep an open mind when you have experienced miscarriage before, but it's not necessarily bad news. So try to stay positive. If you need a friendly chat, you can call us on the helpline (Mon to Fri, 9 am to 5pm.) Sending you all the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Carol (not verified) on 14 Jan 2019 - 16:31

    Hello, I’m about 6 weeks pregnant. The first day of my last period was the 4th December. This morning, I noticed a small bit of blood when I wiped. I put a pad on just in case and when I went to the toilet, there was a small bit of blood. I haven’t bleed since 10am this morning. I’m seeing the midwife for the first time tomorrow for a blood test etc. I’m really worried something isn’t right. Is this normal? Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 11:08

    Hi Carol
    I hope that you have spoken to your midwife and been advised further if required. If you wish to call and talk anything further through, please contact us on the helpline or via email (0800 0147800 or [email protected])
    All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Sandra harris (not verified) on 12 Jan 2019 - 14:18

    I was 5 weeks pregnant with my fourth pregnancy (one resulted in a MC at 10 weeks). I have had all the dreadful signs of a miscarriage today. Bleeding, cramping ... I'm devestated but cannot face going to the GP as the last time they told me to go to A&E which was highly inappropriate and traumatic. How can I tell if this is what I am fearing or whether it's early bleeding? I won't be seeking medical advice as there's nowhere for women to go in early pregnancy.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Jan 2019 - 09:47

    Dear Sandra,
    I am so sorry that you are bleeding and cramping it is a few days now since you posted. How are you? Please do give us a call if you would like to speak to a midwife.
    Thinking of you
    Anna-Tommy's Midwife

  • By Kelly (not verified) on 7 Jan 2019 - 18:04

    Hi I'm 8 weeks today and last week had my hcg levels checked they were 105021.0 and 119019.0 I had lost a small stringy clot before that and today I don't have any pregnancy symptoms am i miscarring

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Jan 2019 - 14:48

    Hi Kelly - Thank you for your message.
    HCG, the hormone detected in home pregnancy tests as well as the blood test variety, can fluctuate enormously from day to day, person to person, and even pregnancy to pregnancy.
    A brand new placenta starts pumping out hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, a few days after the budding embryo implants in the uterine wall. Although low hCG levels are completely normal in early pregnancy (hCG is just starting to show up in your system, after all), it'll soon begin to soar, doubling every 48 hours, give or take. The rapid increase peaks somewhere between seven and 12 weeks after the last menstrual period (LMP), and then starts to decline.
    While it might sound like a predictable increase, levels aren't even close to predictable. Experts have found a huge variation in hCG levels on even the first missed day of a woman's period. Some women have almost no measurable hCG, while others have readings of over 400.
    Either way, this is perfectly normal and has to do, in part, with exactly how long it took your egg to get fertilized, make the trip down to the uterus and get snuggled in during implantationIt's also completely normal for that wide range in levels to persist throughout pregnancy.

  • By promise (not verified) on 7 Jan 2019 - 11:29

    hello I'm 19years old I recently had a miscarriage and after some months i got pregnant but I feel too much headache, dizziness, blood spots, abdominal pain and back pain what may come next because am really scared

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Jan 2019 - 15:10

    Hi - Thank you for your message.
    I'm sorry to read about your previous pregnancy loss and that you aren't feeling well now. Because you have a number symptoms, it is essential that you contact your maternity unit urgently to be seen as soon as possible. That way they can help you with the pain and ensure all is ok with you and baby.

  • By Brithany jackson (not verified) on 9 Oct 2018 - 07:57

    I’ve been pregnant for 17 weeks & I was brutally rape and the person I was rape by I’m pregnant by I wanted to know how to have a safe miscarriage wat can I drink ?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Oct 2018 - 16:41

    Hi Brithany
    I am so sorry that this has happened to you. There is no drink that you can take that safely abort the pregnancy. You will need to be seen by a Dr to be reviewed and to discuss your options.
    If you needs to call us for a chat, please do on 0800 0147800. or you can email us on [email protected]
    So you are aware, this is not a private forum and your name may appear on this webpage by the comment - so you may wish to delete this in the interest of your privacy
    Please take good care of yourself
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Natasha (not verified) on 28 Sep 2018 - 14:11

    I had a missed miscarriage in may at 11wks+4dys. Baby had stopped growing at 7wks but my body failed to recognise it. I’m now sure I’m having another one. Im 4wks+4days and started bleeding lightly on Wednesday, well only when I wiped really. The last couple of days it’s gotten heavier and more like a period. I’ve lost all symptoms of feeling pregnant just as I did last time. I keep being told to go to the hospital just in case but to be honest I don’t feel pregnant anymore. I thought I’d wait for the bleeding to subside then take another test to check it’s negative as told to do last time. Obviously if it’s still positive I go to the hospital. I just don’t know I’m not in any major pain and have light cramps in my pelvic area but it’s likened to period pain.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 28 Sep 2018 - 16:44

    Hi Natasha
    I'm so sorry to hear of your previous miscarriage and that you have started bleeding this month too. Please visit your GP - it is important to have any bleeding in pregnancy checked, even if you are sure the pregnancy has ended.

  • By Sarah (not verified) on 30 Aug 2018 - 20:54

    Hi im around 9 weeks pregnant, ive been having light bleeding for 3 days and today ive got bad stomach cramps/pains, is this a sign of a misscariage, got 3 other kids and ive had spotting before but not like this.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Aug 2018 - 14:14

    Hi Sarah,
    We would advise for you to see your GP for a review if you are having cramps and on going spotting just to make sure everything is ok.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Boitumelo (not verified) on 29 Aug 2018 - 06:18

    Hi I was on my 8week pregnancy but last week I had some small spotting then they eventually went away yesterday the same small blood and clots and and a discharge of blood is it a miscarriage cause am still having cramps and painful pains like periods and a source of labour pains

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Aug 2018 - 13:59

    Hi Boitumelo,
    If you are having bleeding and cramps then we would strongly advised for you to make contact with your GP for a review just to check that everything is ok with the pregnancy.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Aaliyah (not verified) on 11 Aug 2018 - 17:09

    Hello, I Had My Last period on the 25th Of June, me and my partner have been trying for a baby. Since yesterday I’ve been having some bleeding with some back pains a little cramps. I’m not sure if it’s my period after 6 weeks or a miscarriage.
    Please can you advise me

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Aug 2018 - 12:39

    Hi Aaliyah
    With your last menstrual period of 25th June, that makes you approx 6-7 weeks pregnant if you have had a positive pregnancy test.
    If you have not had a positive pregnancy test, then i would you suggest that you make an appointment to see your GP if your periods becoming irregular is abnormal for you and is a recent change as this may need further investigation.
    The Gp can also repeat the pregnancy test
    All the best
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Ann (not verified) on 20 Jul 2018 - 07:11

    Hi there I hate to turn to hear for help and advise but here goes
    I found out I was pregnant 3weeks ago me thinks I'm about 8weeks.
    I was feeling very pregnant sick tired gone off certain food sore boob's cramp in ground. I
    I suddenly felt quite ill last week so went chemist and had high blood pressure 152/98
    They sent me to doctors and I have since took some time off work and stabilised.
    The few days all my pregnancy symptoms totally gone....I'm so worried this was connected to hight no last week.i don't want to waste anyone's time so thought I'd ask here only symptoms or sign of anything is my back full annoying ache down low.
    Many thanks ann

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Jul 2018 - 13:02

    Dear Ann,
    We would advise that if you have had a sudden loss of symptoms then to make contact with your doctor to be reviewed. This would be especially important if you have had any pain or bleeding, but even not it sounds like a review is necessary just to make sure everything is ok.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Zianda (not verified) on 14 Jul 2018 - 19:05

    Hi, I'm currently 16 weeks Pregnant and I felt mild pain in lower stomarch.. I'm scared of having a miscarriage since I had one in February...Is there any risk of having a miscarriage again?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Jul 2018 - 09:23

    Hi Zianda
    I am sorry to hear that you had a miscarriage in Feb. Being pregnant after having a loss can be an anxious time. Our advice regarding abdominal pain, is to always get it checked out, each time it happens. You can attend your maternity triage/day assessment unit now that you are 16 weeks with your pregnancy notes. A midwife and Dr will check you over and make a plan of care with you if one is required. Please get yourself reviewed as soon as you can. All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Holly (not verified) on 2 Jun 2018 - 14:39

    Hi, I'm about 7 weeks and have had brown discharge for a couple of days. I wouldn't call it spotting as it's more mucus like and only when I wipe after going to the loo. It started as light tan and now looks darker. Is this anything to be concerned about. My breasts are still tender and I feel tired but I don't have any pain or anything. I'm just so paranoid that this could be the start of something.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Jun 2018 - 15:11

    Hi Holly,
    As I am sure you have read there can be many reasons for some spotting or discharge and many women have similar symptoms and go on to have normal pregnancies. Best plan is to arrange to be seen at the early pregnancy unit at your local hospital. If your hospital doesn't have this service please see your GP for advice. Take care

  • By suzannah (not verified) on 29 May 2018 - 05:00

    i have been spotting for last 3 days with less cramps my breast have not been in pain i dont feel pregnant but sometimes i feel like vomiting .is it possible that i have miscarriage .

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 May 2018 - 16:21

    Hi Suzannah
    Spotting, nausea and lack of tender breasts doesnt mean that the pregnancy is ending
    Nausea is very common and normal in pregnancy.
    Spotting can be normal but does need to be reviewed at an Early pregnancy assessment unit to make sure that the pregnancy is developing well. Your GP can refer you to your local EPAU if you have not already been seen there.
    Cramping/abdo pain can also be normal, but does also need review.
    If you have not yet been seen, please make an appointment for asap with your GP who can refer you to the EPAU service.
    Please try not to worry. It is normal for pregnancy symptoms to come and go (like the sore breasts) so this does not mean that the pregnancy is ending because you do not have that symptom.
    Take good care of yourself
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By vikali (not verified) on 3 May 2018 - 11:56

    Hi . This is my 4th time pregnancy i have a son of 2 and year Which was my first pregnancy then during my second pregnancy i had a misscarriage. And the third one was an etopic pregnancy for which i had and operation and now i did my test and it is positive . But now m confused over the vaginal discharge i have been spotting dark brown discharge for about a week now.. Im scared if something wrong.please help.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 May 2018 - 16:31

    Hi Vikali, Thank you for your comment.

    Spotting in early pregnancy can be common but as you have had this brown spotting for nearly a week, it is advisable that you see your GP. This doesn't mean that there is anything wrong but because of your previous pregnancy losses, the GP may want to refer you for an early scan. Keep an eye on what you are loosing and if you have any fresh red bleeding or abdominal pain then we would advise that you seek medical advise as soon as you can. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Neo (not verified) on 1 May 2018 - 19:49

    Hi, I’m 8 weeks pregnant and I had lower back pains for 2days, I think it was caused my standing up as I work in retail and I lift heavy boxes every day. Lately I’ve stopped feeling them and I don’t feel pregnant anymore but I do have times where I feel so sick after eating to a point where I want to vomit but I don’t. I’m going for my first scan to confirm if I’m pregnant on the 3rd May. I’m worried that I might not see a heartbeat as I don’t feel pregnant but I’m still feeling sick.

    I’m so confused.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 May 2018 - 12:10

    Hi Neo,

    It can be very common for pregnancy symptoms to come and go. Try and eat little and often as we appreciate that it can be difficult when you are feeling sick. It may be worth speaking to your employer about the heavy lifting that you do, they should perform a risk assessment in pregnancy so that you can still do your job but safely for pregnancy. Hope that your scan goes well today and if you need any advice then please email us on [email protected] Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By jen (not verified) on 24 Apr 2018 - 03:41

    hi there
    Im 7th weeks pregnant but my baby still has no heartbeat. This morning I have abdominal and lower back cramps with no bleeding at all. Im not feeling well and my body temp rises. Could this be a sign of possible miscarriage.


  • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Apr 2018 - 13:29

    Hi Jen, Thank you for your comment.
    If it has been confirmed that your baby has no heartbeat on scan and you are now experiencing abdominal pain, then I'm sorry to say that this does shows signs of a miscarriage. If you are still experiencing abdominal pain or any bleeding then please seek medical advice. Your GP should be able to refer you for a scan to get a better idea of what is happening so please contact the GP or early pregnancy unit. We hope that you will be ok and please contact us any time if you need any further support or guidance, you can email on [email protected] Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Boity96 (not verified) on 17 Apr 2018 - 12:29

    Hi I am 5 weeks pregnant and I have abdominal pains sometimes it's on the right hand side and sometimes on left. I have pure white discharge and genital itching. Are this symptoms of miscarriage or my baby is fine. Thanks in advance

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Apr 2018 - 14:14

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    If you have a heavy white discharge and itching , this may be a sign that you have thrush and this can be common in pregnancy, if you see the GP they will be able to prescribe you some treatment that will ease the symptoms. However, as you have been experiencing abdominal pain then you need to be seen and checked over. With any abdominal pain or bleeding we advice that you seek medical advice from the GP or early pregnancy unit, so please contact either so that you can be checked over. Hope this Helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Wendy (not verified) on 11 Apr 2018 - 09:46

    Hello m three weeks pregnant and v been having light bleeding for 3 days now ,No pains ,no cramps ... M scared I don't want to have miscarriage... M not sure if the baby is still safe ... Pls advice me

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Apr 2018 - 11:49

    Hi Wendy
    If you have not already done so, please make an urgent GP appointment so that you can be referred to your local early pregnancy assessment unit for review there in the next 24-48 hours. If the bleeding becomes very heavy, where you are passing clots of blood, or if you develop severe abdominal pains, then please go straight to A&E to be seen there urgently. Spotting in early pregnancy can be normal, but does need to be investigated to be sure. Please do call us on 0800 0147800 if you wish to ask any further questions about your spotting. We are here Mon to Fri 9 am to 5pm
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Anonymus (not verified) on 4 Mar 2018 - 07:45

    My last period ended on jan 30 ... Then after 10 days i got brownish discharge on feb 10.. which lasted for 5 days.. nw my due period date was 26 feb but i didnt get periods insted on 2nd march i started getting brownish blackish discharge... With light abdominal cramping... What is all this ? Em so worried am i pregnant or there is any other reason... ?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Mar 2018 - 13:44

    It is difficult to know what is happening at the moment. I would advise for you to take a pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant or not. If you are pregnant and the bleeding and pain continues then I would advise for you to see your GP to be reviewed. Best wishes, Tommy's midwives

  • By Anon (not verified) on 10 Feb 2018 - 23:59

    Hi, since my periods return after having my son (he is 2, they came back at 6 months) they have been very heavy, I’ve had a 21 day cycle every month with period lasting 5-7 days. This month my period started on time but as very very light spotting, it has progressed a little but is very light in comparison to normal and has bits of tissue in it, it’s a mix of brown and red. I’ve had no cramping other a little at the start with very mild back ache. I’m still bleeding lightly at day 10. I did a pregnancy test at day 5 and it was negative, what could be going on?

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