“Am I Having a Miscarriage?”
Women can experience a range of different symptoms with each month’s menstruation cycle. One month might include minimal cramping and light bleeding, but the next could bring heavier bleeding, painful cramps, mood swings, uncomfortable bloating, or severe headaches. It can be difficult to understand what a normal period looks like for you personally if you experience fluctuating symptoms. What happens when something doesn’t feel quite right, and you aren’t sure if it’s just an abnormal period or something else? Could you be pregnant? And if so, are you having a miscarriage? How can you know for sure?
If you think you might be pregnant, take the first step of learning more at Avenue Women’s Center. We have provided free pregnancy services to women in the Chicagoland area for nearly 40 years. Our services include free medical-grade pregnancy tests with accurate results just 10 days after possible conception. Our free pregnancy consultations help you learn more about your pregnancy options, including any questions you might have about miscarriage information. Call, text, chat, or email us today to learn more!
When I first started menstruating in my teens, my periods were all over the place. There was no average cycle with regular symptoms, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to miss a menstruation cycle altogether. I would have light periods or just spotting at times, while other months would involve a heavier flow, severe cramps, and awful headaches. I never knew what my body was going to throw at me next. You may be able to relate if you commonly experience similar, irregular periods. But other women might wonder if something is off when their period isn’t what they normally experience. Menstruation cycles can shift for all sorts of reasons such as dietary changes, increased stress, or even your age. But what if you think a missed period could mean you’re pregnant? And what if you’re experiencing some symptoms that have you concerned about a possible miscarriage?
Miscarriage Information and Symptoms
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 13 weeks, or first trimester.* Commonly referred to as early pregnancy loss, miscarriages are the “most common type of pregnancy loss”* and occur in 10–25% of known pregnancies.* It can be difficult to know for sure if you’re having a miscarriage, especially if you aren’t certain that you’re pregnant.
Miscarriage signs can be similar to period symptoms, and include “vaginal spotting, abdominal pain or cramping, and fluid or tissue passing from the vagina.”* Bleeding is also a symptom of a miscarriage. Although it may be common for many women to experience some bleeding and cramping early in a pregnancy, these symptoms often subside on their own as the pregnancy continues. Other symptoms can involve mild to severe back pain, weight loss, and severe contractions (occurring every 5–20 minutes).* It’s best to consult with your doctor or health care professional if you’re concerned that you might be miscarrying for any reason.
There are several different types of miscarriages, and the reasons are varied. “The most common cause of a miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality,” according to the American Pregnancy Association. This is most often caused by a damaged egg or sperm cell. Other causes might include hormonal or health issues, infection, a woman’s age, or drug and alcohol use.*
Learning More About a Possible Pregnancy or Miscarriage
A home pregnancy test might be the first step you take to learn if you’re pregnant. Yet, a faint or confusing result could leave you wondering if you really are pregnant. Or you could simply want a more accurate verification. You could confirm a pregnancy with a test at your doctor’s office, or with a medical-grade test at a pregnancy center, such as Avenue Women’s Center.
A physical exam by your doctor can help determine if you’re having a miscarriage. Levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) can also be tested, since “a low or decreasing level of hCG can mean loss of the pregnancy.”* Additionally, an ultrasound exam can offer insightful information about the development of your pregnancy and possibility of a miscarriage.
Not knowing if you are pregnant or if you might be having a miscarriage can be a confusing and stressful time. Let Avenue Women’s Center provide you with compassionate and nonjudgmental support. Each of our five locations offer free pregnancy tests and private consultations to learn more about your individual pregnancy options. We understand that every pregnancy situation is different, and we care about addressing your personal concerns and questions. Contact us today for a free appointment at our centers in Elmhust, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, West Chicago, and Wood Dale, Illinois!
- American Pregnancy Association. (2017, December). Miscarriage. Retrieved from: https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/miscarriage/.
- MedlinePlus®. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2018, October). Miscarriage. Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/miscarriage.html.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). (2015, August). Early Pregnancy Loss, FAQ090. Retrieved from: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Early-Pregnancy-Loss?IsMobileSet=false.
Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.