Is It Possible to Have a Miscarriage Without Bleeding?

How a Miscarriage Can Be Diagnosed Even Before Symptoms Occur

Woman's Stomach
Getty Images/Laurence Monneret

It is possible to have a miscarriage with no bleeding or cramping before the diagnosis. That being said, the typical symptoms will eventually follow. While it sounds unlikely, diagnosing a miscarriage before symptoms occur may be becoming more common as medical practitioners run earlier routine ultrasounds and checks.

Missed Miscarriages

When a miscarriage is diagnosed without bleeding, a situation called "missed miscarriage" is sometimes described.

The reason behind the miscarriage being called "missed" is to suggest that the body has not yet recognized that a woman is no longer pregnant.

Bleeding from a miscarriage rarely begins the instant the baby has passed away, but rather after the mother's hormone levels drop—a signal to the body that the pregnancy is no longer viable. At this point, a woman's uterine lining will begin to shed and bleeding will begin (similar to a menstrual cycle). This can take a few days or weeks, which is why ultrasounds performed after early pregnancy bleeding will often show that the baby passed one to two weeks before the actual onset of bleeding.

But if an ultrasound is performed for some other reason, such as a routine check for a heartbeat, it is possible for the ultrasound to detect that the baby has miscarried before the mother has begun to have any miscarriage symptoms (like bleeding), and she may even still feel pregnant.

The Symptom Timeline and Medically Induced Miscarriage

In most cases, the miscarriage bleeding would start on its own within two weeks following the diagnosis. But given the uncertainty of the time range and the emotional aspects of carrying a nonviable pregnancy, many moms opt for a D&C or medically induced miscarriage once the diagnosis has been confirmed, preferring to get the physical aspect of the miscarriage over with as quickly as possible.

That being said, expectant management, meaning waiting for the miscarriage to occur naturally is also a reasonable option

Other Signs of Miscarriage

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, approximately 80 percent of miscarriages occur during the first trimester (before 13 weeks). The most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal anomalies. Such anomalies occur during conception when the egg meets the sperm. Unfortunately, such chromosomal problems are not preventable. That being said, factors like advanced maternal age or a prior history of early pregnancy loss may increase a woman's chance of having a miscarriage in the first trimester.

The most common sign or symptom associated with miscarriage is bleeding. This symptom occurs when products of conception pass from the uterus through the cervix and vagina. Nevertheless, there are other symptoms of miscarriage like:

  • Cramping or pain in the back or pelvis
  • Very early loss of morning sickness (keep in mind that morning sickness typically goes away by the fifth month of pregnancy)

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms—even if bleeding is absent—please contact your physician right away.

A Word from Verywell

A possible missed miscarriage is scary to any pregnant woman, and worry may be warranted because it does happen.

However, the majority of pregnancies continue without these complications. Sadly miscarriage is just something that happens, and most of the time there isn't anything anyone can do to affect the outcome, especially in the first trimester.

If you are feeling anxious about your own pregnancy, talk with your personal doctor for further guidance. 


American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. (May 2015). Practice Bulletin: Early Pregnancy Loss.

March of Dimes. (July 2012). Miscarriage

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