When to Worry: First Trimester Miscarriage Warning Signs

Pregnancy is full of strange symptoms and new sensations. It can sometimes be challenging (and stressful!) trying to determine what you should accept as par for the course and what signals a warning that something is seriously wrong. This is especially true when the health and safety of your baby is possibly at risk! If you're frantically searching online for your symptoms and what may or may not be ok, here are some first-trimester miscarriage warning signs you shouldn’t ignore.

Cramping and/or Back Pain

Some cramping is normal as your baby grows and your body stretches and shifts to accommodate. However, if cramping becomes severe, especially if it radiates to your back, this could signal that something is not right. Generally, these cramps will feel worse than typical menstrual cramps and will not come and go but stay persistent. If you begin cramping, try drinking water and lying on your left side to rule out dehydration or stress-triggered cramping. Contact your medical care professional for pregnancy-safe pain management options such as Tylenol or a warm (not hot) bath. If you notice your cramping coming in waves or taking on an increasing pattern of intensity, it can't hurt to call your doctor or visit the emergency room to make sure everything is alright. 

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Bleeding or Unusual Discharge

Spotting is possible during a healthy pregnancy but should never be ignored. Vaginal discharge can appear tinged with pink or brown, or you can have bright red blood. Bleeding during pregnancy can be scary, especially if accompanied by pain. However, if you experience this symptom, do NOT take a "wait and see" approach even if you aren't experiencing any pain. Contact your medical care professional or go to the emergency room immediately to rule out any serious concerns. If you have experienced light spotting, which has been deemed safe but has since increased in frequency or amount, treat it with the same urgency you would when the bleeding first appeared. Other kinds of discharge to be concerned about are dispelling blood clots, pieces of tissue, or a "gush" of pink fluid from the vagina. 

Decrease in Pregnancy Symptoms

Suppose you've been battling symptoms like nausea and breast tenderness, and they suddenly disappear. In that case, it may mean you're heading into the next phase of your pregnancy, but it could also be concerning. Be sure to take note of any significant changes in your symptoms to share with your medical care provider at your next appointment, and if they are accompanied by pain or bleeding, get help immediately to ensure everything is going alright. 

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Feeling Weak or Faint

While fatigue is a common pregnancy symptom, it can be concerning. This is particularly true if it is accompanied by other symptoms that may point toward a miscarriage. Feeling tired alone may not warrant a trip to the hospital. Still, it can be noteworthy, especially if it comes on suddenly and is accompanied by dizziness, pain, or bleeding. 

When it comes to your and your baby's safety, no symptom is too small or insignificant to address. If you feel something is not quite right, share your concerns with your doctor or medical care provider. They can provide an exam and possibly run some diagnostics, such as an ultrasound, to rule out any danger and give the next steps. Many times even scary symptoms turn out to be nothing of concern. Still, it is always better to err on the side of caution to put your mind at ease and provide any care possible that can keep your growing baby safe until birth, when they are finally in your arms!


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