What are the symptoms of pregnancy loss (before 20 weeks of pregnancy)?

Symptoms of pregnancy loss may include:

  • Bleeding from the vagina
  • Pain or cramps in the lower stomach area (abdomen)
  • Low back pain
  • Fluid, tissue, or clot-like material coming out of the vagina

However, bleeding from the vagina during pregnancy doesn't always mean a miscarriage. Many pregnant women have spotting and cramping in early pregnancy but do not miscarry.1 Your health care provider might call this pregnancy "threatened."2 In any case, pregnant women who have any of the symptoms of miscarriage should contact their health care provider immediately.2

Some women do not experience any symptoms of pregnancy loss.

Although this is rare in the United States, some women who have a miscarriage may get an infection in the uterus, which can be life threatening. Women who have the following symptoms more than 24 hours after a should call 911:3

  • A fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on more than two occasions
  • Severe pain in the lower abdomen
  • Bloody discharge from the vagina (which can include pus and be foul smelling)

Recent research has also found that morning sickness—nausea and vomiting during pregnancy—is linked to lower risk of pregnancy loss. NICHD researchers are continuing to look for other factors that may indicate lower risk of pregnancy loss.


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). Early pregnancy loss. Practice Bulletin No. 150. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 125, 1258–1267. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Practice-Bulletins/Committee-on-Practice-Bulletins-Gynecology/Early-Pregnancy-Loss 
  2. MedlinePlus. (2014). Miscarriage. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001488.htm
  3. Nyirjesy, P., & Brandt, K. A. (2016). 54: Infections of the female pelvis, including septic abortion. In J. Cohen, W. G. Powderly, & S. M. Opal (Eds.), Infectious Diseases, 4th ed., vol. 1 (pp. 492–497.e1). Elsevier.
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