What are the first signs of a miscarriage?

Firstly, can I just say – I’m sorry that ‘first signs of a miscarriage’ is something you’re having to look up. It’s a really shitty thing to even have to consider and I wish this wasn’t even a thought for you. That being said, I just want you to know that I’ve been there three times over and I’m here for you. I hope that you find below the information you’re looking for.

first signs of a miscarriage

What are the first signs of a miscarriage?

The most obvious sign that a miscarriage might be happening is if you’re experiencing any vaginal bleeding or spotting. But – don’t panic just yet. Many women have episodes of bleeding or some spotting throughout their pregnancy and still go on to have a healthy baby.

If you are having any bleeding or spotting during pregnancy you should go and book yourself in to see your doctor or visit emergency. Don’t be concerned that you are over-reacting or try to tell yourself that it’s nothing. Even if you go and find out that the bleeding is nothing to worry about, it will be worth it to calm your anxiety.

Other signs of a miscarriage may include:

+ cramping or soreness in the tummy or lower back (it may feel similar to period pain or be stronger like early labour contractions)

+ passing blood clots

+ out of the ordinary fluid from the vagina

+ feeling lightheaded or faint (although on it’s own this could be caused by many other things as well)

Honestly though, if you’re experiencing any or all of these symptoms or have just felt like something is off – I would go and get yourself checked. Trust your intuition and know that it’s okay to turn up to your doctor just to have your fears quietened.

Types of miscarriage

There are different types of terms used to describe miscarriages. This information might be helpful when talking to your doctor. But before I get into them, let me just recognise that ALL of these terms fucking suck when someone is talking about your baby. Again, I’m sorry we have to talk about them, but sometimes knowing the terms before you see your doctor can be helpful.

Missed miscarriage – A missed miscarriage is usually discovered during a routine ultrasound. The baby is found to no longer have a heartbeat, however the body has not let go of the pregnancy yet and there are usually no other symptoms.

In this case, you are usually offered three choices. You can either wait and let the body decide to miscarry naturally (this may take up to 12 weeks). You can choose to use medication to encourage your body to pass the pregnancy more quickly (approximately 4 – 6 hours) or you could choose to have a D&C (dilation and curettage).

Threatened miscarriage – A pregnancy may be described as a threatened miscarriage when bleeding and other symptoms occur, however the cervix is closed and the baby appears healthy.

If you’re experiencing a threatened miscarriage, you’re likely to be monitored more closely throughout the rest of your pregnancy. Take this time to rest as much as possible and do what you can to ease your anxiety.

Inevitable miscarriage – A miscarriage is considered inevitable when you’re experiencing signs of a miscarriage (see above) and the cervix is found to be open.

Unfortunately in this instance you’re likely to be sent home to wait for your miscarriage to happen. Please call someone to be with you to support you through this process. In many ways, a miscarriage can be like a birth; intense and all-consuming. You wouldn’t expect to birth alone so please don’t expect yourself to miscarry alone either.

Complete miscarriage – A miscarriage is considered complete when everything has gone from the uterus.

Usually bleeding and pain will slow down quickly after a complete miscarriage although you may feel quite sore and tender for a while after. Your heart will probably be even more tender for longer – go gently.

Recurrent miscarriage – Apparently this is defined as three or more miscarriages in the first trimester. Don’t ask me who decided the number should be three.

This term is only relevant in relation to the medical world. Here in Australia medical testing is only usually started after three recurrent miscarriages. If you’ve experienced a miscarriage I recommend looking into your own testing through naturopaths, acupuncturists, etc before trying again. They can help you restore what you lose through the process of pregnancy and miscarriage so that you can give your next pregnancy the best chance.

What now?

If you’re still unsure whether you’re experiencing a miscarriage or not, please call or visit your doctor.

If you are experiencing a miscarriage, please call someone to support you during this time. This may or may not be your partner. Sometimes your Mum or a close friend might be better able to do this.

If you think you’ve already experienced a miscarriage, you should visit your doctor to ensure that it is complete, so that no further complications come up. Now is also the time to look after yourself exceptionally well. Give yourself lots of time to rest to physically restore but also to emotionally heal as well.

I thoroughly recommend finding someone to talk to about your loss, whether this is a close friend or a counsellor.

After my three losses, I wrote a book on finding hope and healing after losing a baby. If you’re in Australia you can find it here. Outside of Australia it is available through Amazon.

If you need more support or have any other questions, please reach out via email. Or connect with SANDS to find a local support group in your area.

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