The first trimester can be a scary time for the mom-to-be. And, unfortunately, sometimes, this is for good reason. The American Pregnancy Association reports that most miscarriages do occur in the first trimester, before 13 weeks of gestation. In fact, miscarriages may occur in 10 to 25 percent of pregnancies. However, many happen so early in the pregnancy that many women never even knew they were pregnant. If you do have a confirmed pregnancy, there are signs and symptoms to watch for that may indicate a miscarriage will, or did occur.
The American Pregnancy Association reports that common symptoms of a miscarriage can include mild to severe back pain, losing weight, spotting and/or actual bleeding. Some women may notice the passing of thick tissue with blood and may experience the loss of normal pregnancy signs, such as nausea and exhaustion. In active miscarriages, women may have severely painful contractions that occur several times an hour.
Normal Pregnancy Symptoms
The first trimester normal pregnancy symptoms are often similar to symptoms of an impending miscarriage. In the first trimester, many women may experience weight loss due to nausea, back pain as the uterus stretches, and spotting. It's important to be aware of the changes occurring in your body to know what is normal for a healthy pregnancy and what may signal a problem. However, it's also important to know that some symptoms of a health pregnancy can mimic those of a miscarriage and may not be cause for alarm.
What to Do
Do contact your doctor if you have severe bleeding, cramping or are passing tissue. However, even with mild or confusing symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately if you have concerns that you are about to miscarry. Your doctor can help determine if your symptoms are normal or signs of a miscarriage.
Miscarriage Signs Seen by a Doctor
Your doctor can look for further signs of a miscarriage at an exam. During a pelvic exam, your doctor will exam your cervix. If the cervix has dilated and become effaced (as it does in labor), you may be showing signs of a miscarriage. Your doctor may also perform an ultrasound during the exam to monitor the baby's progress and confirm a miscarriage or show that the baby is growing normally.
Tests Showing a Miscarriage
Your doctor may order several blood tests to monitor a pregnancy and confirm or rule out that a miscarriage is likely to occur or has already occurred. These tests, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, include a HCG test, which measures pregnancy hormone levels in the blood. As a pregnancy progresses, these hormones should increase; in a miscarriage, HCG levels will decrease. Other tests may be ordered to help determine the cause, including a blood type test and white blood count, which would indicate an infection if it is high. The blood type test will determine if you have Rh incompatibility, meaning your may develop antibodies that cause a miscarriage. Caught early, this is treatable by giving the mother Rh immune globulin, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center.