Blood. It’s something no pregnant woman wants to see. But although blood can be a warning sign that you’re miscarrying, it doesn’t necessarily signal the end of your pregnancy. So how do you know if you’ve had a miscarriage? Here are some facts on what to watch for and what to do if you fear your pregnancy is ending.
I’ll never forget day I noticed I was bleeding in the bathroom at work. It was my first pregnancy, and I was terrified. Was something wrong? Was I losing my baby? My fears soon turned to heartbreak as I learned from my doctor my baby had stopped developing and my HcG levels were declining. It was one of the worst days of my life.
Not every woman who experiences bleeding during pregnancy has a miscarriage. In fact, some spotting can be normal. However, it’s important to be aware of the many changes in your body that could signal something is wrong. And be sure to get checked out by your OB/GYN if you have any unusual symptoms.
Some miscarriage warning signs include:
- No longer feeling pregnant – One of my earliest warning signs was that my body felt different. My breasts were no longer sore, and the nausea was gone. I remember telling my husband I didn’t feel pregnant anymore.
- Pain or cramping – I had sharp stabbing sensations in my pelvis in the days before I learned I was miscarrying.
- Red blood and/or clots – This is the most obvious symptom and should always be promptly reported to your doctor. I had a pretty significant amount of red blood, much like a period. Some light spotting or brown blood can be normal, but you should still be checked out.
- Passing tissue – If you notice you’re passing what looks likes pieces of grayish (fetal) tissue, you could be miscarrying.
Think you’re having a miscarriage? The only way to know for sure is to see your doctor. He or she will do a physical exam to see if your cervix is dilated, which happens not only when you’re about to give birth but also when you’re miscarrying. If you’re far enough along in your pregnancy, your doctor will listen for the baby’s heartbeat. He or she will also measure your HcG levels. In a normal pregnancy, these numbers should be increasing quite a bit. If they are declining or staying the same, this could be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Finally, your doctor may order an ultrasound to take a closer look at the sac, surrounding tissue, and developing baby.
If you do learn you’ve had a miscarriage, be sure to take some time to heal, both physically and emotionally. Pregnancy loss is much like the death of a family member, so you will grieve in a similar way. Feelings of sadness and emptiness are normal and should never be ignored. No matter how you feel, please know you are not alone, and seek help if necessary. With time, you will get through this.