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The Most Common Signs of a Miscarriage

Here are the signs you may have suffered a miscarriage, according to doctors.
depressed Indian woman holding head in hands, sitting alone on couch at home

On Wednesday morning, the Duchess of Sussex—a.k.a. Meghan Markle — revealed that while pregnant with her second child, she tragically suffered a miscarriage. According to the 39-year-old wife of Prince Harry, she realized something was wrong after experiencing one key symptom. "I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second," she wrote in a poignant essay for the New York Times

According to the Mayo Clinic, 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage—but the percentage is likely higher due to the fact that many occur so early in the pregnancy that a woman doesn't even realize she is pregnant. 

Here is one key sign the Duchess experienced, as well as other common manifestations of miscarriage that she did not mention, but that might happen to you. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


Pain or Cramping in Abdomen or Lower Back 

woman with hands holding pressing her crotch lower abdomen

While tending to her son, Archie, the Duchess realized she was experiencing a miscarriage. "After changing his diaper, I felt a sharp cramp," she explained. "I dropped to the floor with him in my arms, humming a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful tune a stark contrast to my sense that something was not right." She continued to explain that she learned her intuition was correct hours later at the hospital. 


Vaginal Spotting or Bleeding

Hands of young woman on stomach as suffer from female diseases

One of the key symptoms of a miscarriage is bleeding. "Bleeding can be a symptom of miscarriage, but many women also have it in early pregnancy and don't miscarry," the NIH points out. 

"Early signs of an impending miscarriage are bleeding or cramping. However neither of those mean that a miscarriage is inevitable," says Hugh S. Taylor, MD, chair of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine and its academic multi-specialty practice, Yale Medicine. "If either occurs you should see a physician and monitor the pregnancy with ultrasound and blood tests."

American Pregnancy Association explains that bleeding can start as light spotting, or be heavier like a rush of blood. "The heaviest bleeding is generally over within three to five hours from the time heavy bleeding begins. Lighter bleeding may stop and start over one to two weeks before it completely ends," they write. 

The color of the blood can also vary, appearing pink to red to brown. "Red blood is fresh blood that leaves the body quickly. Brown blood, on the other hand, is blood that's been in the uterus a while," they explain. "You may see discharge the color of coffee grounds, or near black, during a miscarriage."

As for how much bleeding is involved in a miscarriage, it varies depending how far along you are or whether your miscarriage is "progressing naturally."

If you are experiencing any bleeding, you need to take action. "To be sure, contact your health care provider right away if you have bleeding," the NIH urges. 


Fluid or Tissue Passing From Vagina

The APA adds that "white-pink mucus coming from the vagina" and  "tissue with clot like material passing from the vagina" are other miscarriage signs.

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Decrease in Pregnancy Signs

Woman Feeling Nauseous

Sore breasts, nausea, and smell sensitivity are early signs of pregnancy. If you were experiencing any or all, and then they suddenly disappear, the APA explains that it could be due to a miscarriage. 



woman in painful expression holding her belly suffering menstrual period pain lying sad on home bed having tummy cramp

True contractions, "very painful happening every 5-20 minutes," are a sign you are miscarrying, per the APA. 


How a Miscarriage Is Treated

Two professional doctors in blue medical uniform standing in front of each other in hospital corridor and looking thoughtful

Per the NIH, most women who miscarry early in their pregnancy usually do not need any treatment. However, if there is tissue left in the uterus, doctors may perform a procedure called a dilatation and curettage (D&C) or prescribe medication to remove the tissue.

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Most Women Will Get Pregnant Again

Female doctor is checking pregnant woman with stethoscope

Dr. Taylor points out that most women will get pregnant again after a miscarriage. "Unfortunately miscarriage is far too common," he explains. "In most instances couples will have a normal pregnancy in the future. If someone has more than one miscarriage then we need to look for an underlying problem." As for yourself, if you experience anything you've read about here, contact a medical professional, and to 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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