7 Miscarriage Signs and Symptoms

Know the signs and symptoms associated with pregnancy loss

If you've had a miscarriage before or know someone who has lost a pregnancy, it's understandable you may be concerned about how your pregnancy is progressing. Miscarriages are more common than most people realize, with somewhere between 1 in every 3 to 5 pregnancies ending in miscarriage.

Miscarriage symptoms can include vaginal bleeding and cramping in your lower abdomen or back, but these signs don't always mean miscarriage. Plus, not every miscarriage will have symptoms at the time of diagnosis. Miscarriage symptoms can also vary based on how far along your pregnancy is and the type of pregnancy loss, like an ectopic pregnancy. Any of the following signs of miscarriage can be cause for concern and should be evaluated by your doctor. If you are concerned about how your pregnancy is progressing, seek medical attention. 


If your hCG levels are decreasing over time, you are probably having a miscarriage as this is among the most reliable indicators of early pregnancy loss. In order to check your hCG levels, your doctor will most likely request you have your blood drawn twice over a period of two days. 



In many cases, you will experience miscarriage symptoms before an early ultrasound is performed, but if you have had a missed miscarriage or blighted ovum, a discouraging ultrasound result may be your first sign that anything is wrong. Most of the time, ultrasounds can reliably diagnose a miscarriage. In other cases, a single ultrasound may not be enough to indicate whether or not you have miscarried, especially if the dating of the pregnancy had not been known prior to the ultrasound. 



Vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy is the most common miscarriage symptom. Vaginal bleeding does not always signify miscarriage as some women experience spotting in the early stages of pregnancy. If you are bleeding while pregnant, call your doctor to schedule an appointment. Although your doctor won't be able to stop you from miscarrying if that is what is happening, your doctor will be able to perform tests to confirm that it is a miscarriage and to make sure your health isn't in danger. 



Painful cramping does not always mean you are having a miscarriage and should be evaluated by your doctor. In some cases, painful cramping can occur in normal pregnancies. If the pain is severe, however, you should see a doctor right away to make sure your pregnancy is progressing safely as well as rule out miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.



Most of the time, heavy bleeding and passing tissue during pregnancy is a sign you are having a miscarriage. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding or see any ominous-looking tissue, see your doctor immediately to determine the status of your pregnancy. In early pregnancy, any tissue is still going to be quite small and is not going to account for large golf-ball sized clumps that you may be passing. There are certain types of cysts and other conditions that can cause you to pass the tissue.


Nausea and Vomitting

Nausea and vomiting often referred to as "morning sickness," are common during pregnancy. When paired with other miscarriage symptoms, like pain or cramping, nausea and vomiting can be a sign of something more concerning. If you have morning sickness and then experience nausea or vomiting that feels different than what you are accustomed to, speak with your doctor. 

Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms, growing more and more common as your pregnancy develops. If you have intense back pain early in your pregnancy paired with cramping or bleeding, it could be due to an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. Speak to your doctor if you back pain is paired with any other concerning symptoms.