Miscarriage Causes and Symptoms (cont.)

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What are the types of miscarriage?

Miscarriages are sometimes referred to by specific names to reflect the clinical findings or the type of miscarriage. Examples include:

  • Threatened abortion: a woman may experience vaginal bleeding or others signs of miscarriage (see below), but miscarriage has not occurred
  • Incomplete abortion: some of the products of conception (fetal and placental tissues) have been expelled from the uterus, but some remain within the uterus
  • Complete abortion: all of the tissue from the pregnancy has been expelled
  • Missed abortion: the fetus has not developed, so there is no viable pregnancy, but there is placental tissue contained within the uterus
  • Septic abortion: a miscarriage in which there is infection in the fetal and pregnancy material before or after a miscarriage

What are signs and symptoms of a miscarriage?

Vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain are the hallmark symptoms of miscarriage. All vaginal bleeding during pregnancy should be investigated, although not all instances of bleeding result from a miscarriage. Bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy is very common and does not typically signify a miscarriage. The pain tends to be dull and cramping, and it may come and go or be present constantly. Sometimes, there is passage of fetal or placental tissue. This material may appear whitish and covered with blood. Blood clots may also be present in the vaginal bleeding. The degree of bleeding does not necessarily correlate with the severity of the situation, and miscarriage may be associated with bleeding that ranges from mild to severe.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/30/2014

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