Signs of a Miscarriage: Are You Affected?

Pregnancy is a special and exciting experience in a woman’s life. But what if the dream turns into a nightmare? If you are unsure about the possibility of a miscarriage, this is the place for you.

Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between pregnancy symptoms and signs of a miscarriage. We explain in detail what to look out for and how you can tell if you could be affected by a miscarriage. At the end we will also give you an outlook on what will happen in an emergency.

the essentials in brief

  • In the event of a miscarriage, pregnancy involuntarily ends before the 25th week of pregnancy. The embryo dies in the womb of the expectant mother and is then either excreted or remains in the uterus.
  • The main warning signs of a miscarriage are regular bleeding and cramped abdominal pain during pregnancy. In the event of an impending inflammation, fever and altered discharge are extreme harbingers.
  • By adopting a sensible lifestyle, you can increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy. You should eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and not overwork. You should avoid caffeine, smoking and alcohol.

Signs of a miscarriage: what you should know

Spontaneous miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy ( 9 ) . Such a drastic experience is often noticeable early during pregnancy. We have summarized for you how to recognize the signs of a miscarriage and when it is advisable to get medical help.

What happens in the event of a miscarriage?

A miscarriage, also medically abortion , denotes the premature end of a pregnancy. It comes to failure within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy due to undesirable developments before the child is viable.

Often times, the embryo cannot grow properly due to impaired nutrient or oxygen supply.

Eventually it perishes and dies in the woman’s stomach. The reason for this is often faulty DNA on the part of the parents or during cell division. The female body may then react by contracting the uterus.

The result can, for example, be natural elimination with painful withdrawal bleeding. Often the fertilized egg is excreted during the next menstrual period, before a pregnancy has even been established.

What are the signs of a miscarriage?

An abortion often brings with it various harbingers. It can announce itself very gradually or occur suddenly. It is often not that easy to spot a miscarriage right away. However, there are some typical symptoms that you should take seriously as warning signs:

  • Heavy or light vaginal bleeding
  • Spasmodic, labor-like abdominal pain
  • Severe lower back pain
  • Vomit
  • fever
  • Purulent or smelly discharge
  • Expulsion of tissue

Fever, chills and yellowish-green discharge, as well as circulatory problems, can also indicate an infection in the event of a miscarriage. Another sign of an impending miscarriage can be the disappearance of pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, tiredness or breast tenderness. Furthermore, amniotic fluid can leak out in advanced pregnancy.

How do I know if a miscarriage is imminent?

If the lower abdomen pulls, it does not automatically mean that you are about to miscarry. Some pregnancy symptoms are perfectly normal and are related to the many changes that take place in the body. In principle, vaginal bleeding can be an indication of an impending miscarriage. These should therefore be carefully observed.

Bleeding during pregnancy does not necessarily indicate a miscarriage.

However, there is cause for concern at the latest when there is heavy or regular bleeding with lumps. A distinction is made between different forms of miscarriage. We have summarized the most important symptomatic types for you ( 10 ) :

Imminent miscarriage (abortus imminens)Bleeding has started, but the child is still alive. The cervix is ​​closed.The intact pregnancy can be maintained with proper treatment.
Incipient miscarriage (abortus incipiens)Labor has started, the cervix is ​​open. Vaginal bleeding with abdominal pain is typical.You can’t see a child’s heartbeat. The miscarriage is not reversible.
Incomplete miscarriage (abortus incompletus)The cervix is ​​fully open. Severe pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding are typical.You can’t see a child’s heartbeat. The miscarriage is not reversible.
Complete miscarriage (complete abortus)The embryo has already been completely rejected. The bleeding may stop.The miscarriage is not reversible.

To be really sure, you should always consult your medical companion. This can use an ultrasound scan to check whether a heartbeat can still be seen.

Can a miscarriage go unnoticed?

An unnoticed miscarriage is also known as a restrained miscarriage or a missed abortion . It is a miscarriage with no external symptoms, no bleeding and no pain. The only thing that might be noticeable is the decrease in signs of pregnancy because the production of pregnancy hormones is stopped.

Although the embryo does not develop any further, it remains in the uterus instead of being excreted from the body. Such cases are not uncommon: They represent over 50% of all miscarriages ( 1 ) .

Often, during a routine medical examination, it is suddenly discovered that the child is dead. Heart sounds are no longer detectable. This can be a shocking experience and for many it is a traumatic event. On the other hand, very early abortions are often not noticed at all because the egg cell does not even implant. This can only lead to a heavier or delayed menstrual period.

Which month of pregnancy is most likely to announce a miscarriage?

50% of all miscarriages occur in the first six weeks of pregnancy. In general, a miscarriage is defined as a failure to conceive within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. A distinction is made between an early and a late miscarriage.

While most miscarriages occur within the first twelve weeks, the risk decreases significantly afterwards. A miscarriage is different from a premature birth, which can only occur later in the pregnancy.

About 10 to 15% of all pregnancies end prematurely within the first trimester of pregnancy ( 2 ) . The exact reason for an early abortion is usually unclear; there are many different possible causes. The individual cause is usually only investigated after recurring (habitual) miscarriages.

How can I reduce the risk of a miscarriage?

The risk of an abortion is highest at the beginning of a pregnancy. As the pregnancy length increases, it decreases steadily. A miscarriage cannot be avoided across the board. We have no control over many factors.

However, especially during the so-called adjustment phase up to the 13th week of pregnancy, you can pay attention to a few things to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy. This is how you can help ensure that your unborn child is doing well.A healthy lifestyle has a positive effect on pregnancy.

A healthy lifestyle with sufficient exercise, enough sleep and a wholesome diet play a particularly important role. Overall, you should give your body enough rest, avoid stress and not overload yourself. According to the Federal Center for Health Education, mental stress can trigger a miscarriage, as stress weakens the immune system and can lead to an infection.

According to a Danish nationwide observational study, an estimated 12.5% ​​of miscarriages could be prevented by avoiding risk factors such as alcohol consumption, lifting over 20 kg daily and night work during pregnancy.

Obesity and underweight could also promote miscarriage ( 3 ) . In addition to alcohol and tobacco, the consumption of caffeine and coffee during pregnancy also appears to increase the risk of pregnancy loss ( 4 ) .With medical support, warning signs can be recognized early.

In addition, medication should be taken during pregnancy under medical supervision. Regular preventive care during pregnancy is also important. You should therefore definitely attend routine examinations in order to recognize warning signs as early as possible.

Another important factor influencing the risk of a miscarriage is the age of the mother-to-be. The lowest risk is between the ages of 25 and 29 years ( 5 ) .

When it comes to supplementing nutrients like vitamin D, science disagrees. It is clear, however, that a vitamin D deficiency is involved in the regulation of immune cells at the interface between fetus and mother and in various pregnancy diseases ( 6 ) .

Despite everything, you should be aware that the natural process of miscarriage is unstoppable once it is underway. Recurring miscarriages can be avoided with appropriate treatment of the cause. This applies, for example, to the treatment of an underactive thyroid, which can be a risk factor for miscarriages in women before the 20th week of pregnancy ( 7 ) .

Other causes can be hormonal disorders or anatomical peculiarities of the uterus. However, the most common cause of miscarriages is chromosomal abnormalities ( 8 ) . These cannot be prevented.

What should I do if I suspect a miscarriage?

First of all, it is important that you listen to your body awareness. You know yourself best and only you know what you are perceiving. If you fear a miscarriage, you should rest and take it easy.

Even if symptoms do not always indicate a miscarriage, pulling pain in the lower abdomen, cramps, and regular bleeding should be examined and observed by a doctor. Healthcare professionals can determine if you are experiencing a miscarriage and identify and treat the risk of infection in good time.

Signs of miscarriage
Spasmodic pain in the lower abdomen can be a sign of a miscarriage. You should consult a doctor. 

In particular, if the extreme warning signals mentioned above occur, a doctor should be consulted immediately. If there is indeed a miscarriage, you will be informed about further steps there.

In some cases, surgical or drug treatment is necessary. Alternatively, the body can end the miscarriage on its own through vaginal bleeding. That varies from woman to woman and depending on the situation. In an emergency, you should consider getting psychological support in order to deal with a traumatizing experience. Emotional security is of particular importance and is the basis for a new attempt at conceiving.


Miscarriages can announce themselves clearly or go completely unnoticed and then be all the more shocking. Basically, you should be careful with your body during pregnancy. It is true that you cannot easily prevent a miscarriage. Nevertheless, a healthy lifestyle could have a preventive effect. This includes a balanced diet and adequate sleep.

As soon as there are suspicious signs such as bleeding or painful cramps, it is advisable to ask a medical professional and get an examination. If you’re concerned, it’s always worth asking for advice. In extreme cases, you should go to a hospital immediately.

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