When To Worry

A miscarriage is a pregnancy that ends in the spontaneous loss of the embryo or fetus before 20 weeks of gestation.

depressed woman possible miscarriage

And while an estimated 10-15 percent (and possibly more) of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, that doesn't make it any easier when you end up on the wrong side of the statistics. At the first sign of bleeding (often referred to as spotting), every woman desperately wonders, "Am I losing the baby?" Thankfully, bleeding is not proof-positive of a miscarriage. Many expectant mamas (yes, even including one of your charming editors) have experienced bleeding and yet went on to deliver a healthy baby at term. In many cases, bleeding is caused by fluctuating hormone levels, particularly of the hormone progesterone.

That said, most miscarriages do start with bleeding -- ranging from mild, painless spotting to heavy bleeding accompanied by abdominal pain or cramping, which may feel a lot like menstrual cramps. You might also have a gush of fluid (amniotic fluid) from the vagina. While you should call your caregiver immediately, you should know that, in most cases, very little can be done. (The merit of bed rest in the case of a threatened miscarriage is said to be debatable.) This does not mean that it's a lost cause, though -- just because your healthcare provider can't help doesn't necessarily mean you're miscarrying. Just hang in there and do your best not to play the "What did I do wrong?!" mind game with yourself. You'll know in a couple days what is going on.

Read more:

Spotting during pregnancy
Spotting: Why does it happen?
What can cause bleeding during pregnancy?

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