Pregnancy loss is fairly common, especially during early pregnancy. Knowing the signs that you’re having a miscarriage can empower you to make better decisions about your pregnancy and health.

If you’re having an unexpected pregnancy, understanding these symptoms can help you avoid unnecessary stress as well. Miscarriage is a natural ending to a pregnancy, saving you and your partner from the costs, pain, and hard decisions that come with an abortion.

This guide will explain the signs of a miscarriage and show the best ways to know if you’re having one.

How common are first-trimester miscarriages?

Researchers estimate that up to 26% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. This number includes all pregnancies that end naturally during the first 20 weeks. 

Additionally, 80% of miscarriages happen during the first trimester, or first 13 weeks, of pregnancy.

This means that you have around a 1 in 4 chance of having a miscarriage, especially if you are less than 13 weeks along. 

Since miscarriages are so common, it’s a good idea to get an ultrasound to check for a viable (or healthy) pregnancy before making a decision. Examining the fetus through ultrasound is the only way to determine its viability. The sonographer will also check for other abnormalities, such as an ectopic pregnancy, during the procedure.

Book an appointment for a free pregnancy test and ultrasound here.

3 signs you’re having a miscarriage

1. Bleeding

If you are having a miscarriage, you may begin bleeding lightly or spotting for several hours or days. In some cases, women experience heavy bleeding almost immediately. 

When you are actively losing the pregnancy, the bleeding will get heavier. You will likely pass clots and, depending on how far along you are, a recognizable fetus.

Along with red blood, you might have discharge that is pink, red, or brown. Some women have discharge that is dark brown or black, similar to the color of coffee grounds.

It’s important to note that spotting and light bleeding doesn’t always mean you’re having a miscarriage. You may just have light bleeding that doesn’t affect the health of the pregnancy. 

If you notice any kind of bleeding or colored discharge, especially if it continues to get heavier, you should visit a clinic or hospital as soon as you can.

2. Cramping, lower abdominal pain, or back pain

When you lose a pregnancy, your uterus cramps to empty the blood, fetus, and tissue from your body. These cramps feel like period pain for some women. Most, however, have more severe and painful cramping.

You may also have true contractions, which are stronger, more painful, and occur regularly at around 5-20 minute intervals.

Back pain, which can range from mild to severe, is also common during pregnancy loss. 

The level and type of pain you experience can vary depending on several factors, including your body and how far along you are in your pregnancy.



Generally speaking, having both cramping and bleeding means you are likely experiencing a miscarriage.

3. A decrease in pregnancy symptoms

Often, your body knows that you are having a miscarriage before you do. You will start producing lower levels of a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). As your hCG levels drop, your pregnancy symptoms will suddenly decrease.

You may stop feeling nauseous or sensitive to certain smells. Breast tenderness, increased urination, fatigue, dizziness, cravings, and other pregnancy signs will decrease as well.

Many pregnancy symptoms change even during healthy pregnancies, however, so these changes aren’t a definite sign of a miscarriage. We recommend seeing a medical professional to check for viability no matter your pregnancy symptoms.

Should I get treatment for pregnancy loss?

Yes, it’s important to visit a doctor’s office, pregnancy clinic, or hospital if you suspect you’re losing your pregnancy. 

Miscarriages can cause excessive blood loss. If any tissue remains in your uterus, you can also develop a life-threatening infection.

For your safety and health, make sure to get medical care as soon as you learn you’re pregnant.

Can you have a miscarriage without having symptoms?

Yes, your symptoms might not start for a few weeks after losing the pregnancy. You may even get positive pregnancy test results when you have a nonviable pregnancy.

The best way to spot and confirm a miscarriage is through an ultrasound, which will show if the fetus is viable and growing. If you are losing the pregnancy, you can then get care to ease or treat your symptoms.

Is your pregnancy viable?

You can get a free ultrasound at Thrive Orlando to check your pregnancy’s viability, after confirming it through a pregnancy test. You’ll also have access to free STD testing and treatment, plus a one-on-one consultation about your options and resources, if your test is positive. 

Ready to make the best decision for your health and pregnancy? Book your appointment today.

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