Is Loss of Pregnancy Symptoms a Sign of Miscarriage?

Symptoms of pregnancy can disappear or fluctuate

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While the disappearance of uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy such as sore breasts, nausea, and food aversions may be welcome, you may also worry that this reprieve could signal a miscarriage. Sometimes, unfortunately, it does. However, a decrease in your usual pregnancy symptoms doesn't always mean something's wrong—it could just be that your symptoms are shifting.

Overview

Some symptoms of pregnancy naturally disappear or fluctuate, so it's tricky to go solely by how your body feels. If you notice a sudden change in pregnancy symptoms, it's important to check in with your doctor. They will be able to talk you through what is happening, examine you, and/or give you any needed tests to determine if anything is wrong.

Your doctor will inquire about whether you are having any other signs of a miscarriage, like vaginal bleeding or cramping. Having multiple signs of miscarriage is more worrisome than simply a decrease in pregnancy symptoms. It is helpful to know what to expect during pregnancy (and miscarriage) to give you a better sense of how long typical symptoms last and what it means if they disappear.

Symptoms of Pregnancy

The signs and symptoms of pregnancy are quite variable and depend on the individual's body. Nevertheless, in addition to missed periods, here are some key physical symptoms that you might experience during pregnancy:

Of note, morning sickness usually begins shortly after a pregnancy starts and often extends through the third month of pregnancy before eventually going away around 14 weeks. Morning sickness may involve nausea and/or vomiting, but do not get fooled by the term "morning"—nausea can last all day long for some women or come and go throughout the day. However, not all women get morning sickness.

Some women fear that after their morning sickness stops, they may no longer be pregnant. Keep in mind that morning sickness usually abates mid-pregnancy. Its cessation is normal and not usually a sign of miscarriage on its own, especially if it ends gradually after a few months.

In addition, while breast soreness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, not every woman experiences the same degree of soreness. So having no or fleeting breast soreness in early pregnancy should not be interpreted as a sign of miscarriage. The same goes for a change in the frequency of urination and other pregnancy symptoms.

For those who have undergone assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF, many are hyper-aware of their symptoms from the moment after the embryo transfer. In fact, many of the fertility medications taken during the stimulation or transfer phase of IVF can mimic the symptoms of early pregnancy.  

Symptoms of Miscarriage

Miscarriage in early pregnancy (during the first 13 weeks of gestation) happens in around 10% of pregnancies. Most miscarriages occur during the first trimester of pregnancy, with the most common cause being a chromosomal abnormality in the embryo. There are two key signs and symptoms of miscarriage.

Vaginal Bleeding

Bleeding is a telltale sign of a miscarriage. However, the type of bleeding that occurs varies, as some people experiencing miscarriage bleeding more continuously, while others bleed irregularly. Likewise, some women may experience heavy bleeding, while others experience light bleeding. Confusingly, some women also bleed in pregnancy but are not having a miscarriage.

In fact, it is common for some pregnant women to experience a small amount of intermittent spotting during pregnancy and still go on to have healthy babies and otherwise normal pregnancies. If you're experiencing any bleeding during pregnancy, immediately inform your OB-GYN—this should not be ignored.

Usually, the type of bleeding that does not indicate a miscarriage is very light and does not occur with cramping or changes in other pregnancy symptoms.

Cramping

Women who are experiencing a miscarriage may experience abdominal or pelvic cramping and/or dull, achy pain that radiates from the back. Typically, cramping pain occurs at around the same time as the bleeding. In general, the pain of a miscarriage is often worse (but similar to) the discomfort experienced during a normal period. 

Other Common Signs

Other signs and symptoms of a miscarriage may include:

  • Passing clots
  • Sudden loss of pregnancy signs
  • True contractions
  • Whitish-pink mucous discharge

Because some pregnancy hormones remain in the blood after a miscarriage, it is also possible to still experience the physical symptoms of pregnancy after a miscarriage diagnosis.

Loss of pregnancy symptoms, like morning sickness and breast tenderness, is most worrisome as a sign of miscarriage when combined with vaginal bleeding and cramping. Conversely, research shows that spotting combined with morning sickness is less likely to indicate a miscarriage.

When to Call the Doctor

While it's true that a loss of pregnancy symptoms can happen with a miscarriage, it's also true that symptoms can fluctuate in a normal pregnancy.

If your symptoms disappear entirely before the end of the first trimester, it isn't necessarily a sign of miscarriage, but do tell your physician to be on the safe side.

If loss of pregnancy symptoms happens alongside other possible symptoms of miscarriage, especially spotting or vaginal bleeding, the combination might present a greater cause for concern. Your physician will be able to determine if you are really having a miscarriage, so be sure to call if you are concerned.

A Word From Verywell

Everyone responds to pregnancy differently. Some will have every symptom in the book, others will have just a few. It's also not uncommon to have fluctuating symptoms or no symptoms at all in the early stages. Most likely, whatever you are experiencing, in the absence of heavy bleeding and cramping, is normal. However, sometimes miscarriages do happen.

If you experience any pain or vaginal bleeding while pregnant, call your doctor right away. Signs of miscarriage should never be ignored in the hope that they will simply go away. Unfortunately, there isn't usually anything that can stop an early miscarriage. Most importantly, know it's very common and not your fault.

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6 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. March of Dimes. Miscarriage. Updated November 2017.

  4. Sapra KJ, Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, et al. Time-varying effects of signs and symptoms on pregnancy loss <20 weeks: Findings from a preconception prospective cohort studyPaediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2018;32(1):30-39. doi:10.1111/ppe.12402

  5. Snell BJ. Assessment and management of bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2009 Nov-Dec;54(6):483-91. doi:10.1016/j.jmwh.2009.08.007 PMID:19879521

  6. American Pregnancy Association. Signs of miscarriage.

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