Incomplete miscarriage

If you start to miscarry naturally, and experience some bleeding, this indicates that the pregnancy is over and the process of losing your baby is underway.

What is an incomplete miscarriage?

Sometimes not all of the pregnancy tissue contents of the womb come away on their own after a miscarriage. When some pregnancy tissue comes away by itself, but some remains in the womb, it is called an incomplete miscarriage.

You may find you suffer prolonged bleeding, or you may develop symptoms of infection. If this is the case, you need to seek treatment soon.

Signs of an incomplete miscarriage

If you are at home, there are some warning signs which may indicate that you are experiencing an incomplete miscarriage.

  • You will bleed very heavily. If you’re soaking through a pad an hour, it’s worth seeking advice.
  • Your bleeding may become increasingly heavy rather than improving.
  • You may pass clots.
  • You are likely to have lots of tummy pain, which may feel like crampy contractions.

If you experience any of these warning signs, seek medical help.

Treatment for an incomplete miscarriage

You will be offered a scan which will show whether there are any tissues left in your womb. If there are some tissues remaining you may be offered medical management and advised to take medication or to have a small surgical procedure to help to complete the miscarriage.

This procedure can be done under general or local anaesthetic. Depending on how busy your hospital is and how unwell you are, it may be possible to have the procedure right away. If this happens, you will be admitted into hospital for a short stay so you might like to bring someone with you to your scan appointment.

Read incomplete miscarriage stories

Read more about miscarriage

  • Sad woman talking to health professional.

    Expectant management

    Letting your miscarriage happen naturally is also called ‘expectant management.’

  • Woman being comforted by healthcare professional.

    Surgical management

    If the medical option hasn’t been completely successful, or if you are bleeding heavily or have an infection, you may be advised to have surgery.

  • Woman's hand holding two pills.

    Medical management

    If you have a missed or incomplete miscarriage, you will be offered the option to take some medicine to help the miscarriage to get underway.


  1. NHS Choices 'Treatment for miscarriage' accessed on 19 April 2016
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    Last reviewed on August 1st, 2016. Next review date August 1st, 2019.

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