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Losing a baby to miscarriage is a time of grief and sadness for expectant parents. It is important to get emotional support. Any woman who is able to be pregnant is at risk for a miscarriage. The most common reason is because the fetus isn’t forming normally.


Is there a problem with my pregnancy?


If you are having pain, bleeding or discharge during pregnancy, it is important to contact your doctor right away. Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you’re having a miscarriage; but they may be symptoms of a problem with your pregnancy. You will need to get medical help.


What is a miscarriage?


A miscarriage happens when a pregnant woman loses a fetus before the 20th week (or five months). Most often, a miscarriage happens within the first 12 weeks (three months). It can be very hard to find out why a woman has a miscarriage, but usually it isn’t because of something she did. Some women are at higher risk for having a miscarriage. Risk factors include:


  • Being over 35 year old

  • Having miscarriages in other pregnancies

  • Having an ongoing health condition, such as diabetes

  • Being overweight or underweight

  • Smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs and medicines that have not been prescribed or approved by your doctor

  • Having problems with your uterus or cervix


Miscarriage symptoms


  • Bleeding or “spotting” from your vagina

  • Pain in your lower back or abdomen (stomach area)

  • Other liquid or tissue (unusual or thick discharge) coming from your vagina

Having these symptoms does not always mean you are having a miscarriage. However, if you have any of these, you should see your healthcare provider right away.


Miscarriage screening


While there is no screening that can predict if you will have a miscarriage, there are tests that can tell if you are having one.

  • Pelvic exam

  • Ultrasound (a wand that goes over your belly or in your vagina that allows the doctor to see images of the fetus)

  • Blood tests that measure pregnancy hormones

  • Tissue tests (if you have had tissue come from your vagina and you take it to the doctor)

Help with high-risk pregnancies

The Maine Medical Partners Maternal-Fetal medicine clinic provides expert care for high-risk pregnancies. The focus is on keeping Mom and baby healthy and safe.

If your doctor tells you that you are having, or are going to have, a miscarriage, you can:

  • Let it happen naturally. This can take up to a couple of weeks and, if it doesn’t happen, you may need a treatment to make it start.

  • Take medication. If you choose this option, your doctor will give you medicine to take either by mouth or by putting it in your vagina. This usually only takes a day to start working.

  • Have surgery. There is a minor surgery called “suction dilatation and curettage” that is more commonly known as a “D&C.” In this surgery, your doctor will remove the fetus and other tissue all at once.