Could back pain indicate a miscarriage? Find out!

Early miscarriage is a common issue in pregnancy. Doctors estimate that about 30% pregnancies are lost even before a woman realises she is pregnant and another 15% confirmed pregnancies are lost barely 15 weeks into the term. It is very important then to know the signs and symptoms of a miscarriage so a pregnant woman knows when she is miscarrying and can get in touch with her doctor immediately.

Early signs of miscarriage

1. Bleeding

Bleeding is one of the first signs of miscarriage. However, it can also be confusing because some women do experience some vaginal bleeding in the early days of the pregnancy that does not necessarily mean you are miscarrying. However, if you notice spotting or medium-to-heavy bleeding (with or without clots) during your pregnancy, it is advisable to get in touch with your doctor immediately. Cramps during bleeding is a major red flag too. Keep an eye out for bright red or brownish blood with clots.

2. Dull/Throbbing Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain or pain in the pelvic area can also be a sign of miscarriage. Most pregnant women anyway have back pain and often it is not threatening. But lower back pain can also be referred pain, ie, a pain that begins in your lower abdomen and manifests in your lower back. If you have severe throbbing or a continuous dull pain in the lower back area just above the buttocks, and especially if this is accompanied by any bleeding or spotting, call your doctor immediately.

3. Abdominal Pain

Low level abdominal pain is usually nothing to be concerned about but if the pain resembles menstrual cramping or if you experience any spotting or even pinkish mucous discharge with this, you need to see a doctor.

4. Discharges

Any white or pink mucous can be a sign of the uterine lining getting discharged through your vagina. This does not necessarily have to be accompanied by any itchiness or soreness in your vagina, or even any pain. But if notice any discharge, don’t ignore it.

5. Vaginal Pressure

If you experience mild pressure in your vagina or in the pelvic region, there is nothing to be concerned about. But any pressure more than the usual could mean your cervix is becoming weaker (known medically as an Incompetent Cervix). By pressure we mean a feeling that something is trying to get out of or get into the vagina when you are standing or lying down. If you experience this, you are probably having a miscarriage.

6. Labour-like contractions

If you begin to get contractions about two or three times an hour, you need to call your doctor immediately. Some contractions are normal, but they don’t cause pain or are infrequent. If your contractions are coming more regularly, get it checked.

Symptoms of early pregnancy by number of weeks

Some signs of pregnancy will depend on how long you have been pregnant. Here is an approximation of the most common symptoms of miscarriage by the number of weeks.

0 - 6 Weeks

Often, a woman does not realise she is pregnant so when she does miscarry, it feels like very heavy periods. You can, of course, do a pregnancy test while you are bleeding heavily to check if you were pregnant. It will be too late to check if you are one or two weeks late.

6 - 12 Weeks

If you are miscarrying between 6 - 12 weeks, you will probably have a good deal of pelvic pain, cramping and/or bleeding. It may start out as a light spotting but get heavier (than a heavy period) over the next few hours or a day. Pain will increase with the bleeding.

12- 20 Weeks

This is when you might get labour-like contractions, intense pain and bleeding. You may also have very heavy white discharge without any bleeding or contractions, indicating an incompetent cervix.

Incomplete Miscarriage

Sometimes the body begins to miscarry but is not able to complete the process entirely. It happens when the cervix suddenly dilates or acts like it is preparing to deliver the baby. There might be rupture and pain as well as bleeding. If you do not experience miscarriage symptoms after this, barring a dull pain and some bleeding, it probably means that you had an incomplete miscarriage and may need medical assistance to complete the process. Otherwise the remains of the baby and supporting tissue will fester and infect your uterus severely.

Can you stop a miscarriage?

Unfortunately no. There is no way to stop a miscarriage early or late in your pregnancy. But you need medical assistance to ensure that the miscarriage was complete and to prevent any infections.

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