Skip to main content

Threatened Abortion

Threatened Abortion

What is a miscarriage? — A miscarriage is when a pregnancy ends before a woman has been pregnant for 20 weeks. (A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.) The most common symptoms of a miscarriage are bleeding from the vagina and belly pain or cramping.
What is a threatened miscarriage? — A threatened miscarriage is when a woman has bleeding from the vagina, but her pregnancy has not actually ended. The medical term for a threatened miscarriage is a "threatened spontaneous abortion."
Most of the time, the bleeding will stop on its own and the pregnancy will continue normally. But sometimes, a threatened miscarriage will become a miscarriage.
Did I do anything to cause my threatened miscarriage? — You probably did not do anything to cause your threatened miscarriage. And if your threatened miscarriage becomes a miscarriage, it is also probably not because of anything you did.
Most of the time, a miscarriage happens when a pregnancy does not grow normally from the beginning.
What are the symptoms of a threatened miscarriage? — Women with a threatened miscarriage have bleeding from the vagina. Some women also have pain in their belly.
There are other conditions that can cause bleeding from the vagina during the first half of pregnancy. Rarely, vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain are caused by an ectopic pregnancy. This is when the pregnancy is located in the wrong place in the body, outside the uterus. This is sometimes called a "tubal pregnancy."
Should I call my doctor or nurse? — Yes. If you are pregnant and have bleeding from your vagina or pain in your belly, call your doctor or nurse right away. Bleeding during pregnancy can sometimes be a symptom of an emergency condition such as an ectopic pregnancy.
Will I need tests? — Yes. Your doctor or nurse will ask about your symptoms and do an exam. He or she will check for your baby's heartbeat. There are 2 main ways doctors can do this. They can use:
A device called a "fetal Doppler monitor" – The doctor puts this device on your belly. It uses sound waves to let you hear your baby's heartbeat.
An imaging test called an ultrasound – An ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of the inside of your body and of your baby. This test can show pictures of your baby's heartbeat.
Your doctor will probably also do a test to measure the amount of "hCG" (a pregnancy hormone) in your blood. You might need to have this test again a few days later.
How is a threatened miscarriage treated? — Unfortunately, there is no one proven way to treat a threatened miscarriage.
Sometimes, doctors recommend that women with vaginal bleeding lie in bed, avoid heavy lifting, or avoid having sex. But these treatments have not been shown to help prevent a miscarriage.
If you have bleeding from your vagina, your doctor will follow your symptoms until one of the following things happen:
Your bleeding stops, and your doctor has made sure that your pregnancy is growing normally.
You have a miscarriage or another problem with your pregnancy. If this happens, your doctor will talk with you about what to do next.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 17047 Version 5.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
© 2020 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

1 popular Threatened Abortion drugs

New! No Prescription? No problem.

Affordable Online Care is here! Answer a few questions about your concern and receive a treatment plan in as little as 15 minutes, from a board-certified provider, 100% online.

Learn more
Illustration of a prescription hand off from one mobile phone to another