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This information is about what happens when it is certain that you have had, or you are going to have, a miscarriage.
|If you are experiencing pain and bleeding in early pregnancy, but a miscarriage has not been diagnosed, please see the fact sheet Pain and bleeding in early Pregnancy|
|Miscarriage happens when a pregnancy stops growing. Eventually, the pregnancy tissue will pass out of the body. Some women will feel crampy, period-like pain and in most cases there will be vaginal bleeding.|
Miscarriage is very common in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Studies show that up to one in five women, who know they are pregnant, will have a miscarriage before 20 weeks. Most of these happen in the first 12 weeks. The actual rate of miscarriage is even higher because some women have very early miscarriages without ever realising that they were pregnant.
If a woman miscarries it is unlikely that she will miscarry again, and very unusual for her to miscarry a third time. When women do miscarry three or more times, tests can be done to look for a cause. Testing is not offered to women who miscarry once or twice because it is very unlikely that anything would be found.
What causes a miscarriage?
What can you do to prevent miscarriage?
|Look after your general health; don’t smoke, modify caffeine intake, avoid alcohol and where possible avoid contact with others who have a serious infectious illness. Usually the next pregnancy will be normal, but if you have three miscarriages in a row further tests are recommended.|
How miscarriage is diagnosed
|Women seek medical care at different stages of a miscarriage; sometimes the miscarriage has already happened and sometimes it has only just begun. A combination of symptoms (such as pain and bleeding), examination findings, ultrasound and blood tests will confirm whether you have had, or you are having, a miscarriage (see the fact sheet Pain and bleeding in early pregnancy).|
|A miscarriage is usually diagnosed as complete, incomplete or missed:|
Who should I contact for help?
General contact options
Royal Women's Hospital options
|For assessment, tests and treatment of possible miscarriage:|
|For emotional support or someone to talk to about how you are feeling:|
|Other fact sheets about miscarriage:|
|RCOG (2006) Greentop Guideline number 25: The Management of Early Pregnancy Loss,|
AEPU (2004) Organisational, Clinical and Supportive Guidelines, http://www.earlypregnancy.org.uk/guidelines.asp
|The Royal Women’s Hospital does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided in this fact sheet or incorporated into it by reference. |
We provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy.
Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner.
|Published: May 2010, Reviewed November 2012|