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Signs of Losing a Baby During Early Pregnancy

by
author image Laura Candelaria
Laura Candelaria is a family nurse practitioner and assistant professor of nursing and nutritional science. Her experience includes neonatal and pediatric intensive-care, women's oncology, gynecology, obstetrics, lactation, nutrition and infertility. She has been published in "Nursing Spectrum," "Newsday" and on various websites.
Signs of Losing a Baby During Early Pregnancy
Woman lying on couch having stomach cramps Photo Credit conejota/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

It is estimated that up to 25 percent of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage in the first trimester. There are some signs and symptoms of possible miscarriage. It is important to realize, however, that many women who experience some, or even all, of these symptoms may go on to have a healthy baby. However, if you do experience any of these signs you should contact your obstetrician for further evaluation.

Decrease in Symptoms

Many women experiencing a miscarriage will experience a sudden disappearance of their pregnancy symptoms. Symptoms are different for each women. Some women feel extremely nauseous during the first trimester and have very sore, painful breasts. Others may never feel nausea and have only slight breast discomfort. Some women actually get used to their symptoms and do not notice them as much.

Moderate to Severe Cramping

Moderate to severe cramping in the uterus, which feels like menstrual cramping, or in the lower back may be a possible sign of miscarriage. It is common to have mild uterine cramping during the first trimester. This occurs because the uterus is stretching to accommodate your pregnancy. Mild cramping that is not accompanied by bleeding is considered normal. However, women experiencing moderate to severe cramping should notify their physician.

Bleeding

Bleeding may be a sign of impending miscarriage. Some women may experience mild spotting during their first trimester and go on to have a healthy pregnancy. Spotting is a brown or pinkish discharge. Bright red bleeding that is similar to or worse than that of an actual period may be a sign of miscarriage. This bleeding is usually accompanied by strong menstrual-like cramping. Women should wear a pad or liner to accurately measure the amount of bleeding. For example, soaking a pad every hour would be considered severe bleeding, whereas soaking one half of a pad each hour would be moderately heavy bleeding and so on. Some women may pass blood clots or tissue as well during a possible miscarriage. Any type of spotting or bleeding should be brought to the attention of your doctor.

Absence of Fetal Heartbeat

After approximately six weeks of gestation there should be the presence of a fetal heartbeat. This is detected through a transvaginal ultrasound. Your doctor may order an ultrasound to examine viability of a fetus. If the dating of the pregnancy is correct, and by seven weeks there is no detected heartbeat, it is a probable sign of miscarriage.

Decrease in Beta HcG Levels

In pregnancy, the hormone HcG begins to rise after conception and rises continuously through the first trimester. In the beginning weeks it doubles every two days or so. In the event that you are experiencing signs and symptoms of miscarriage, your doctor may want to measure your beta HcG. If your levels are declining, or not rising, it is a sign of an impending miscarriage.

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