Threatened Miscarriage Overview
Any bleeding other than spotting during early pregnancy is considered a threatened miscarriage. (A miscarriage may also be referred to as a spontaneous abortion.) Vaginal bleeding is common in early pregnancy. About one of every four pregnant women has some bleeding during the first few months. About half of these women stop bleeding and have a normal pregnancy.
The bleeding and pain associated with threatened miscarriage are usually mild. In the best case, the cervical os (mouth of the womb) is closed. (A health care professional can determine if the cervical os is open by performing a pelvic exam.) Typically, no tissue has been passed from the womb. The womb and Fallopian tubes may be tender.
When a miscarriage is inevitable, the cervical os is open (dilated). Bleeding is often heavier, and abdominal pain and cramping often occur.
If a miscarriage is incomplete, the cervical os is open, and the pregnancy is being expelled. Ultrasound reveals some material that remains in the womb. Bleeding is heavy and abdominal pain is almost always present.
With a complete miscarriage, bleeding and abdominal pain have occurred but have usually stopped. Products of conception have been passed. The early fetus has been passed and was not alive. Ultrasound reveals an empty womb.
Threatened Miscarriage Causes
Although the actual cause of the miscarriage is frequently unclear, the most common reasons include the following:
Vicken P Sepilian, MD
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Recurrent miscarriage syndrome (RMS) is a common obstetric problem, affecting over 500,000 women in theUnited Statesper year1; infertility, although less well defined epidemiologically, is also a common clinical problem.