A miscarriage, sometimes referred to as a spontaneous miscarriage, occurs when a pregnancy ends spontaneously before a fetus is able to survive outside of the womb. Most miscarriages occur before the end of the first trimester, and symptoms include bleeding and cramping. Symptoms of miscarriage after the first trimester may include heavier bleeding and more intense cramping.
Bleeding is one of the most common symptoms of miscarriage. During the first trimester, bleeding that is light may not necessarily indicate a miscarriage. Heavier bleeding, on the other hand, usually indicates a threatened miscarriage, and prompt medical attention is advised.
Cramping is another one of the more common signs of miscarriage during the first trimester. Cramps can be moderate to severe, and often feel like regular menstrual cramps. These early symptoms of miscarriage are very similar to a regular period. Because of this, some women may not even realized that they had a miscarriage or were even pregnant, especially if it happens during the first month of the pregnancy.
After the first trimester, bleeding is also one of the most common symptoms of miscarriage. Later in a pregnancy, the bleeding will typically be heavier, though. A woman may also pass large clots out of her vagina.
In some instances, a woman experiencing a late miscarriage may also pass fetal tissue out her vagina. This will typically be pinkish gray in color. If this happens, it should be caught in a container to accompany her to the emergency room, which will help doctors confirm the miscarriage.
Similar to an early miscarriage, a woman experiencing a late miscarriage may also experience pain. This pain, however, will typically be much more severe, and may even resemble labor pains. Besides the abdomen, pain may also be felt in the lower back.
Other symptoms of miscarriage can include fatigue and fever. Nausea is also common during a miscarriage. It is important for a woman to seek medical attention if she believes that she may be having a miscarriage. There is a possibility that the pregnancy can be saved. If it can't, a doctor should check examine the woman to ensure an incomplete miscarriage did not occur. In this case, parts of the fetus are still in the womb, and if left untreated, a serious infection is very possible.
While the causes of miscarriage are not usually known, some women are more at risk than others. Research suggests older parents, including both the mother and the father, are more at risk of a naturally terminated pregnancy. Also, illnesses and injuries may also contribute to miscarriages.