Many pregnancies often end up in miscarriage. Miscarriage is the medical term used to refer to a loss of pregnancy. A miscarriage usually happens most commonly in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, though some women might experience a miscarriage at later stages as well as even before they come to realize they were pregnant. Spotting and/or vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom of a miscarriage. Sometimes, many women mistake a miscarriage for being a menstrual period, through bleeding is not the only sign. Many times, miscarriage can also take place without bleeding. Here are some of the signs of miscarriage without the bleeding.
What is a Miscarriage?
A miscarriage is a pregnancy that ends of its own before reaching full term, or commonly known as a pregnancy loss. Nearly 25 percent of all clinically diagnosed pregnancies are known to come to an end due to a miscarriage.(1)
Typically a miscarriage happens during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, but some women might also experience a miscarriage before they even come to realize they were pregnant. Some women also have a miscarriage within the first 20 weeks of gestation.(2)
Bleeding or/and spotting is one of the most common symptoms of a miscarriage. However, there are also some other symptoms of miscarriage as well.
Causes of a Miscarriage
Miscarriages are generally believed to be caused by chromosomal abnormalities. Sometimes it happens that the embryo fails to divide and grow properly, which leads to fetal abnormalities that stop your pregnancy from progressing further. Some other factors that can also cause a miscarriage include:(3)
- Gestational diabetes or diabetes before pregnancy that is not well controlled
- Hormone levels that are too low or too high
- Certain infections
- Exposure to some environmental hazards such as toxic chemicals or radiation
- A cervix that starts to thin out and open way before a baby has had the adequate time needed to develop
- Taking illegal drugs or medications that are known to harm a baby
Your doctor might know what the cause of your miscarriage was, but many times, the cause of miscarriage remains unknown itself.
Signs of Miscarriage Without The Bleeding
Vaginal bleeding or/and spotting are usually the most common symptoms that indicate you are having a miscarriage. Some women also mistake a miscarriage for having a menstrual period, but bleeding/spotting is not the only sign of a miscarriage. There are other symptoms of a miscarriage as well, and they include:
- Back pain
- Pelvic cramping – similar to what it feels like when you are about to get your period
- Unexplained weakness
- Severe abdominal pain
- Fluid leaking from your vagina
- Tissue coming from your vagina
The sudden disappearance of your other pregnancy symptoms, such as morning sickness or breast soreness
If you start to pass pieces of tissue from your vagina, then your doctor may advise you to keep at least some of the pieces in a container so that they can be analyzed. When a miscarriage takes place very early during the pregnancy, then it is common for the tissue to look like a small blood clot.
Some women may also experience some light spotting or light bleeding throughout normal pregnancy. However, if you are uncertain about whether or not your bleeding levels are normal, then you should call your doctor. In any case, if you experience bleeding/spotting at any stage during your pregnancy, you must immediately consult your doctor.
How is a Miscarriage Confirmed?
If you have earlier had a positive pregnancy test and you have a doubt that you might have lost the baby, then you must contact your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room at the earliest. Your doctor will run several tests in order to determine if a miscarriage has happened.
The first test usually includes an ultrasound. An ultrasound is used to determine if the fetus is still present in the womb and if it has a heartbeat. Your doctor will also order a blood test to test your hormone levels, especially the levels of your human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone. This is the primary hormone that is typically associated with pregnancy.
Even if you are certain that you have experienced a miscarriage, then it is of utmost importance that you see your doctor. This is due to the possibility that if you have passed out some tissue from your body, there still might be some tissue remaining inside, which can be dangerous for your health.
If there is any placental or fetal tissue left inside, then your doctor will recommend certain procedures that will have to be carried out. The most commonly used procedure is a dilation and curettage (D and C). A D and C procedure removes any leftover fetal or placental tissue from your uterus. This allows the uterus to then heal properly and also prepare itself for another healthy pregnancy in the future.(4)
Not all women who have suffered a miscarriage need to undergo a D and C procedure, but if you experience heavy bleeding along with signs of infection after the miscarriage, then surgical intervention in the form of a D and C procedure might be required.
Recovering From a Miscarriage
If you are confirmed that you have had a miscarriage and it has also been confirmed by your doctor, then after the miscarriage, your symptoms are likely to persist for anywhere between one to two weeks. Your doctor may recommend that you avoid using tampons or engaging in sexual intercourse during this time period. This is done in order to prevent any infections from happening.
While you can typically expect to see a lot of bleeding, some spotting, or even cramping. There are certain symptoms which should be taken seriously and require you to call your doctor immediately. These symptoms are likely to indicate that you have a post-miscarriage infection or even a hemorrhage
You need to contact your doctor immediately if you experience the following:
- Severe pain
- Bleeding that causes you to soak through more than two pads within an hour for two hours or more in
Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics or order further testing in order to determine whether there is an infection inside. You should also contact your doctor in case you feel tired or dizzy. This can also be an indication of anemia.
While it might take a couple of weeks to recover from having a miscarriage, the mental recovery following a miscarriage can take much longer. You can find many support groups, both online as well as in your local area. Your doctor will also be knowing of pregnancy loss support groups present nearby your area.
Having undergone a miscarriage does not mean that you will not become pregnant again in the future. Even after having a miscarriage, most women go on to having successful and healthy pregnancies in the future. However, if you have had multiple miscarriages, then your doctor is likely to perform a host of tests to determine if you have any underlying medical conditions or abnormalities. These tests could indicate that you have a health condition that prevents your ability to become pregnant. So do discuss your concerns with your doctor.
- American Pregnancy Association. (2019). Miscarriage: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention. [online] Available at: https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/miscarriage/ [Accessed 12 Jun. 2019].
- Cohain, J.S., Buxbaum, R.E. and Mankuta, D., 2017. Spontaneous first trimester miscarriage rates per woman among parous women with 1 or more pregnancies of 24 weeks or more. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 17(1), p.437.
- Oliver, A. and Overton, C., 2014. Diagnosis and management of miscarriage. The Practitioner, 258(1771), pp.25-8.
- Neilson, J.P., Gyte, G.M., Hickey, M., Vazquez, J.C. and Dou, L., 2013. Medical treatments for incomplete miscarriage. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3).
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