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How to Identify Signs of an Incomplete Miscarriage

By Contributor ; Updated April 18, 2017
Identify Signs of an Incomplete Miscarriage

How to Identify Signs of an Incomplete Miscarriage. Incomplete miscarriages make up approximately 20 percent of all miscarriages. These losses occur most often between the 6th and 13th weeks of pregnancy. In incomplete miscarriages, not all products of conception (the baby, the sac or the placenta) expel naturally from the mother. Medical attention is required for this condition.

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Observe your bleeding. In the majority of incomplete miscarriages, heavy bleeding, often with clotting, occurs. The bleeding may even gradually become heavier. However, in some instances, the bleeding may slow.

Determine if you are experiencing cramping. As the uterus tries to expel its contents, these uterine contractions can be painful. Cramping often accompanies the bleeding in an incomplete miscarriage.

Note if you are having pain. With an incomplete miscarriage, abdominal or lower back pain is common. You may also experience a tenderness of your abdomen or in your pelvis.

Have a doctor check if your cervix appears open. A doctor can do this either via ultrasound or a pelvic examination. An open cervix signals miscarriage, including incomplete miscarriage.

Observe the contents of the uterus. Using an ultrasound, your doctor can determine if anything from the pregnancy remains in your uterus. In cases of incomplete miscarriages, a doctor may see remnants of the baby, the amniotic sac or the placenta in the uterus.


An incomplete miscarriage also is referred to as an inevitable miscarriage. A loss in pregnancy symptoms may be associated with any type of miscarriage.


The information in this article is not meant to serve as a substitute for regular medical advice and care. Always talk to you doctor if you have any concerns regarding your health. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding, contact your doctor immediately. Heavy bleeding refers to passing clots larger than 1 inch or soaking a maxi pad every 30 to 60 minutes. Infection may occur if products of conception (sac, baby or placenta) remain in the uterus after a miscarriage.

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