Am I having a miscarriage?
It can be difficult to know if you are having a miscarriage. Although bleeding or pain can be common in the first trimester of your pregnancy, if you are experiencing bleeding with pain, cramping, abdominal tenderness or heavy bleeding at any stage of your pregnancy, you may be experiencing a miscarriage and should seek medical advice immediately. Contact your GP for a referral to the Urgent Access Early Pregnancy Scanning Service at Newcastle Ultrasound for a same-day scan, report and treatment advice when you call before 11:00am.
What are the chances of a miscarriage?
Pain and bleeding in early pregnancy are very common, occurring in approximately 30% of all pregnancies. Most of the time these symptoms will not cause a miscarriage and the pregnancy will be carried successfully to term. It is, however, very important to assess the position and viability of each pregnancy any time pain and bleeding are present. We can help most patients to have a healthy baby..
What are the common signs and symptoms of a miscarriage?
Common signs and symptoms that may indicate a miscarriage include:
- Cramping pain in your abdomen or a belly ache (similar to period pain but more severe)
- Dull ache in your lower back
- Vaginal bleeding, especially if the blood is red and the flow is heavy
- The presence of clots and/or different appearing tissue
What else could it be?
- A non-viable pregnancy, where you are pregnant but the pregnancy has not formed properly
- An ectopic pregnancy or a pregnancy in the wrong place (e.g. in the fallopian tubes)
- A molar pregnancy where the placenta has not formed properly
All of these conditions can have serious consequences for the mother and should be investigated as a matter of urgency.
What do I do if I think I am having a miscarriage?
- Try to stay calm and make sure you have support around you. Contact someone close to you to inform them of what is happening
- You can usually take a wait-and-see approach if there is only minor spotting but an early ultrasound examination can provide you with reassurance of a healthy pregnancy. You may also need anti-D if you are Rh negative
- Use a sanitary pad to capture any blood, clots, tissue or other vaginal discharges for further analysis (this is desired but not essential)
- See your GP as soon as is practicable for an assessment and ask for a referral to our Urgent Access Early Pregnancy Scanning Service if required. You can download a referral form for your GP here
Call 000 or have someone drive you to your nearest emergency department if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Severe pain or cramping in the lower abdomen or shoulder pain
- Intense bleeding (much heavier than a period) with or without pain. Milder bleeding can wait
- Dizziness or fainting
- Fever of more than 38 °C and/or chills
What are the treatment options for a miscarriage?
Most patients (85%) will have a healthy pregnancy, although some may require blood tests and hormone support for a good outcome.
While it is not always possible to halt or reverse an inevitable miscarriage, there are several options that will be offered to you if a miscarriage is confirmed. You may elect to allow the miscarriage to progress naturally if it is safe to do so. Alternatively, you may be offered medication to bring on a natural miscarriage or a day surgery technique called Uterine Evacuation to remove all remaining pregnancy tissue. You will also receive an anti-D injection if your blood group is Rh negative to ensure there are no issues with any future pregnancies, as well as a referral to your nearest hospital to continue your care if required.
If you suspect you are having a miscarriage get the expertise and support you need. Contact your GP and request a referral to Newcastle Ultrasound’s Urgent Access Early Pregnancy Scanning Service
You can download a referral form for your GP here. Please call our patient liaison coordinator on (02) 4957 3899 if you have any further questions about this service.