Symptoms - Miscarriage

The most common sign of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding.

This can vary from light spotting or brownish discharge to heavy bleeding and bright-red blood or clots. The bleeding may come and go over several days.

However, light vaginal bleeding is relatively common during the first trimester (first 3 months) of pregnancy and doesn't necessarily mean you're having a miscarriage.

If you have vaginal bleeding, contact your GP or maternity team as soon as possible.

If you've had 3 or more miscarriages in a row (recurrent miscarriage) and are worried about your current pregnancy, you can go straight to an early pregnancy unit for an assessment.

Find an early pregnancy unit near you.

Other symptoms of a miscarriage include:

  • cramping and pain in your lower tummy
  • a discharge of fluid from your vagina
  • a discharge of tissue from your vagina
  • no longer experiencing the symptoms of pregnancy, such as feeling sick and breast tenderness

When to seek urgent medical help

On rare occasions, miscarriages happen because the pregnancy develops outside the womb. This is known as an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies are potentially serious as there's a risk you could experience internal bleeding.

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may include:

  • persistent and severe tummy pain, usually on one side
  • vaginal bleeding or spotting, commonly after the pain has started
  • pain in your shoulder tip
  • diarrhoea and vomiting
  • feeling very faint and lightheaded, and possibly fainting

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy usually appear between weeks 5 and 14 of the pregnancy.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, visit your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department immediately. If you're unable to travel, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Page last reviewed: 01/06/2018
Next review due: 01/06/2021