Am I Having A Miscarriage?

Published on 04/27/22

Being able to tell what’s going on during the first trimester is not always simple. Miscarriage symptoms can be hard to determine. Even harder to separate from other non-related symptoms. So, if you find yourself wondering “Am I Having A Miscarriage?”. Here’s a little extra guidance that may help you understand.

What Is A Miscarriage?

Firstly, what is a miscarriage?  A miscarriage means there has been a loss of pregnancy within the first 23 weeks. This type of pregnancy loss doesn’t always result in the same symptoms at the same time which might make it harder to determine. So, if you find that you are experiencing one or two similar symptoms, don’t panic! 

Miscarriage symptoms like vaginal bleeding and mild abdominal cramping aren’t indicative of only miscarriages. It’s important to note: these things can happen in perfectly healthy pregnancies. If you are concerned about a potential miscarriage make sure to vocalize this with your doula, obstetrician or midwife. Whoever your choice of healthcare provider is, they will be sure to help you determine whether the symptoms you’re experiencing are normal or a potential miscarriage. This is paramount in your first trimester. 

Am I Having Miscarriage Symptoms?

There are a few clues to hone in on if you’re concerned about a miscarriage:

  • The immediately ‘not-so-obvious’ symptom would be a sudden loss of pregnancy symptoms like sore breasts or nausea
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Major abdominal cramping – brown spotting can occur normally and may vary in reason but heavy and red bleeding are symptoms that are more concerning 
  • Clotting – this is a concern because the clots could contain fetal tissue mixed with blood
  • Vaginal discharge that may be in a gush of clear or pinkish liquid

When it comes to these symptoms there are some that are less likely linked to miscarriages – for many reasons. For instance, the loss of pregnancy symptoms could be a fluctuation or the disappearance of symptoms altogether as the pregnancy progresses. Symptoms like morning sickness disappear as the pregnancy continues and can seem quite sudden to some women. As well as bleeding and uterine cramping – these are also present in normal and ectopic pregnancies. Bleeding specifically, is common in the first 3 months of pregnancy. Symptoms like these can be common in most pregnancies and aren’t a direct indication that you’re having a miscarriage.

Collectively with other major symptoms, this becomes a reason to contact your healthcare physician for more information or testing. Follow your intuition!

Can I Take Pregnancy Tests?

If you’re not sure if you’ve had a miscarriage, take a pregnancy test. If the pregnancy test shows up negative and was positive previously, you might be able to assume that you have had a miscarriage. This applies to the reverse. If you take a pregnancy test and it shows up positive, you may be able to assume that the pregnancy may still be progressing. 

Either way, the best way to find out for certain is to check in with your healthcare provider. Even with a positive test, the pregnancy hormone, hCG, levels may have not decreased enough to show up as a negative result

 

It should be noted that home pregnancy tests can not accurately measure the level of hCG in the body. hCG levels fluctuate throughout the day based on the time and the amount of water you are consuming. These tests cannot accurately diagnose or calculate your levels. Avoid taking multiple pregnancy tests trying to figure out whether you are miscarrying.

Am I Having A Miscarriage?

Like most health-related scenarios, one size does not fit all. Everyone may experience different symptoms for the same diagnosis. However, there are some commonalities that help connect the dots. 

For example, not all miscarriages are painful. Cramps can start really strong for some women and for others, may be light – similar to a period or even less. It’s even more common to pass fruit-sized blood clots in addition to vaginal bleeding during a miscarriage These symptoms can last for hours or sometimes, the cramps and bleeding can end fairly quickly. 

When talking to your healthcare provider, they can prescribe medication and provide management tips for cramps and pains during your miscarriage. Regardless of your physical experience, miscarriages can be emotional. Talk to your doctor about what is normal and let them provide you with resources to get through it the best way possible for you.

Am I Experiencing Something Common?

Miscarriages aren’t normally a common topic of discussion so it might be hard to gauge but they are so much more common than most people realize. Miscarriages are estimated to happen in about 1 in 8 pregnancies. This ratio is only among the women who knew they were pregnant, even more among women who weren’t aware they were pregnant. 

Miscarriages become more uncommon when 3 or more happen in a row. This affects 1 in 100 people. If you have experienced this, talk to your healthcare provider about your options. 

What Causes A Miscarriage?

Miscarriages happen for various reasons and the cause for a miscarriage isn’t usually identified. However, most doctors can agree that the majority of miscarriages are caused by abnormal chromosomes in the baby. Abnormal chromosomes can lead to developmental issues and affect total development in the fetus.

For most pregnancies that result in a miscarriage, it is often a one time event and most people continue on to have successful pregnancies after. 

What Do I Do After A Miscarriage?

There’s not much to do after a miscarriage but the feelings of shock, guilt, disappointment, grief and anger can be draining. Try to find support that can help carry you through what might be a really tough time. Hospitals often offer counseling services and charity groups to help women in need. 

It’s hard to remember that miscarriages are commonly a one-off situation and most women go on to have happy and healthy pregnancies. You can try for another baby once you feel emotionally and physically ready and your symptoms have subsided.

It’s okay to experience a range of emotions throughout this experience. Much like miscarriages can vary, so can the after effects and emotions that follow. 

 

Can I Prevent A Miscarriage?

There are so many reasons a miscarriage can happen, so pinpointing how to prevent them can be as hard as pinpointing why they even occur. Most miscarriages cannot be prevented. But, there are a few ways to help lower the risk of a miscarriage.

Things to avoid when pregnant are:

  • Smoking
  • Using drugs while pregnant
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Reducing your risk of infection by eating a healthy diet and being a healthy weight before and during pregnancy 

 

What Can I Do If I Think I’m Having A Miscarriage?

If you think you may be experiencing a miscarriage there are a few things you can do to help guide you through to the next step. Talk to your healthcare provider so they can refer you to a hospital to run tests. Tests like an ultrasound scan can help determine if you are truly having a miscarriage. 

If you have a confirmed miscarriage, you can talk to your healthcare provider about managing the loss. This process will be dependent on the age of the pregnancy. What is common is that the pregnancy tissue will pass out naturally within 1 to 2 weeks. Your healthcare provider can also help by prescribing medicine to help assist the passage of the tissue. This is often an option as an alternative to minor surgery if you decide not to wait out the passing of the pregnancy tissue. 

It’s important to know that the resources and information available to you during a questionable time are endless. Make sure to stay in contact with your healthcare provider and keep everyone informed along the way. This ensures the best plan of action and the best options for care.

Have More Questions About Miscarriages? Call Rosh Maternal and Fetal Medicine in NYC Today!

If you have any additional questions about miscarriages, if you think you are having a miscarriage or may have had one, schedule an appointment with Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine today!

The team at Rosh MFM can help you get through this stage in your life with ease. Call or schedule an appointment in NYC today to talk to our doctors who specialize in working with women and their needs.