Symptoms and Signs of Threatened Miscarriage

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 7/29/2022

Doctor's Notes on Threatened Miscarriage

A threatened miscarriage refers to the possibility of spontaneous abortion, or pregnancy loss, during early pregnancy. Any vaginal bleeding other than mild spotting during early pregnancy may be a sign of a threatened miscarriage. However, vaginal bleeding is very common during early pregnancy, and not all cases of vaginal bleeding in the early weeks of pregnancy mean that a miscarriage is imminent. Many women stop bleeding and go on to have a normal pregnancy. When a miscarriage does occur, an abnormality in the fetus (such as a genetic abnormality) is the most common cause.

Symptoms of a miscarriage or threatened miscarriage include vaginal bleeding and pain. 

  • Bleeding may be mild or severe. 
  • Pain and cramping may be present in the lower abdomen, lower back, buttocks, and genitals.
  • Other symptoms associated with a true miscarriage include the passage of blood clots and tissue fragments.

What Is the Treatment for Threatened Miscarriage?

Treatment for threatened miscarriage is usually expectant management, meaning rest and observation.

  • Bed rest is sometimes recommended. 
  • Avoiding sexual activity and exercise may also be recommended.
  • Avoiding travel and remaining in an area with access to a healthcare facility is usually recommended as well.
  • In some cases, progestin medications or Rho immune globulin may be prescribed.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.