Miscarriage: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

The hallmark symptom of miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion or early pregnancy loss, is vaginal bleeding. The bleeding may be very heavy, and blood clots and/or tissue may be passed along with the bleeding. The bleeding is usually accompanied by abdominal pain and cramping. The pain may radiate to the low back, vagina, pelvic area, or buttocks. Fever and chills are not common but may occur if the miscarriage is a result of an infection.

Causes of miscarriage

Most miscarriages are believed to be caused by genetic problems such as chromosomal abnormalities within the embryo that prevent normal development and survival. These genetic problems are not usually related to genetic problems in the mother. In other cases, the cause of miscarriage is unknown. Certain diseases or medical conditions can also cause miscarriage or may increase the risk. These include diabetes, thyroid disease, and infections that can spread to the placenta. Factors that increase a woman's risk of miscarriage include cigarette smoking (> 10 cigarettes per day), older maternal age, trauma to the uterus, moderate or high alcohol consumption, being severely over- or underweight, and illicit drug abuse.

Related Symptoms & Signs

Other miscarriage symptoms and signs

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Puscheck, Elizabeth E. "Early Pregnancy Loss." Medscape.com. Oct. 14, 2016. <https://reference.medscape.com/article/266317-overview>.