What Does a Miscarriage at 5 Weeks Feel Like?

Medically Reviewed on 1/11/2022
miscarriage at 5 weeks
Miscarriage at 5 weeks may often go unnoticed or feel like a heavier period, including symptoms such as vaginal bleeding or discharge.

Miscarriage, also called spontaneous abortion or pregnancy loss, at five weeks may often go unnoticed.

When present, symptoms are often nonspecific and may feel like a heavier period, including:

Many women do not exhibit any symptoms, especially in the case of early pregnancy loss. 

Although spotting may be caused by abortion, it may be a normal sign in early pregnancy. Nonetheless, you must consult your doctor to get the doubt clear.

At times, abortion may be diagnosed after an ultrasound is performed without any symptoms experienced by the woman. Some women may doubt having a miscarriage when they feel that their pregnancy symptoms (breast fullness or tenderness, morning sickness, etc.) are diminishing.

When to contact your doctor

If you think that you are having a miscarriage, you must contact your healthcare provider. If ignored, you may develop complications such as severe blood loss and infections.

You must seek emergency medical care if you experience the following:

  • Excessive bleeding (the need to change more than two pads every hour)
  • Passing large clots (more than the size of a golf ball)
  • Severe pain or cramps in the abdomen or pelvic region
  • Foul-smelling discharge
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Severe pain in the back or shoulder
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain during bowel movements

What causes a miscarriage at 5 weeks?

Miscarriage most commonly occurs during the first trimester (first 12 weeks of pregnancy) due to the following reasons:

  • Genetic abnormalities in the fetus: Chromosomal abnormalities are the most common cause of pregnancy loss during the first trimester. They account for about half of the miscarriages in the first trimester and about 70 percent of all miscarriages occurring before the 20th week of pregnancy.
  • Abnormalities in the uterus: Depending on the severity and location, certain abnormalities in the uterus such as an incompetent cervix, fibroids, septa, polyps, or adhesions may result in miscarriage. These conditions may be managed by surgery to prevent any future pregnancy losses.
  • Advanced maternal age: The risk of abortion increases in older women (older than 35 years). Data suggests that over one-third of pregnant women who are older than 40 years may have a first-trimester miscarriage. Moreover, advanced maternal age may increase the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus.
  • Infections: Certain infections may increase the risk of miscarriage such as various bacterial, viral, and protozoal infections such as syphilis, group B strep, zika virus, parvovirus B19, and cytomegalovirus infections.
  • Injuries: Severe trauma or injury that directly impacts the uterus may result in a miscarriage, for example, gunshot wounds, assaults, or road traffic accidents. Additionally, certain diagnostic procedures such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling may cause injury and miscarriage.
  • Substance abuse: Substance abuse including excessive smoking and alcohol consumption may increase the risk of miscarriage. Using illegal drugs such as cocaine may increase the risk of unfavorable pregnancy outcomes including fetal abnormalities and miscarriage.
  • Chronic diseases: Certain chronic diseases in the mother may increase miscarriage risk, which includes uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid diseases, obesity, or heart diseases.
  • History of miscarriage: A previous miscarriage may increase the risk of having a subsequent miscarriage. Studies report that women whose mothers had a miscarriage may be more likely to have a miscarriage.
  • Exposure to toxins: Environmental pollution and exposure to certain toxic chemicals such as lead, arsenic, and radiation may increase miscarriage risk.
  • Immune system disorders: Certain immunological conditions such as lupus may increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Medications: Certain medications such as retinoids, diclofenac, and ibuprofen may increase miscarriage risk.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine increase the risk of miscarriage?

Data, so far, does not suggest any increase in the risk of miscarriage after the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines).

  • No adverse effects concerning fertility were observed in people who received COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Animal studies have reported that Pfizer-BioNTech, J&J/Janssen, and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines did not cause any harm to pregnant animals or their babies.

Pregnant women are more likely to get a severe form of COVID-19.

The potential risk of COVID-19 vaccines is far outweighed by their proven benefits in pregnant and breastfeeding women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages pregnant and breastfeeding women and those planning to get pregnant to get their COVID-19 vaccine including booster shots as and when recommended.

Studies report that maternal vaccination may protect babies against COVID-19.

Does caffeine consumption increase miscarriage risk?

Excessive caffeine consumption may increase miscarriage risk, therefore experts recommend limiting caffeine intake to less than 200 mg a day. This amount is roughly equivalent to two cups of coffee.

You must discuss your caffeine intake with your gynecologist, especially if you are at a high risk of miscarriage.

Medically Reviewed on 1/11/2022
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