In most cases signs of miscarriage will appear in the first trimester. The common belief is that if a woman makes it through the first trimester she is safe with a small chance of miscarriage. This does not mean miscarriage will not occur later in pregnancy. Signs of miscarriage in the second trimester may include some of the early signs of miscarriage, but there are a few that are specific to late stage miscarriage.
Early and Late Signs of Miscarriage
When miscarriage occurs during pregnancy, there are some symptoms that present in both early and late miscarriage. These signs of miscarriage include bleeding and cramping. Spotting may occur in the early months of pregnancy, but by the second trimester, the cervix is closed and no spotting should occur. In the latter part of the second trimester, cramping can occur as Braxton Hicks contractions. The uterus must prepare for childbirth so mild cramping is not normally something to worry about, but should be reported to the attending obstetrician.
Other signs of miscarriage that are common in the first and second trimester include lower back pain, pain in the abdomen and pressure in the area of the uterus. These symptoms are similar to those of labor.
Second Trimester Specific Signs of Miscarriage
By the second trimester, the membranes protecting baby are in place. If a woman feels fluid leaking from the vagina or her bag of waters ruptures, this is a clear sign of miscarriage or early labor. It may not be a gush of fluid as is represented in Hollywood movies. Instead, women more commonly feel just a small trickle of fluid similar to urination. If any tissue or grayish material is passed, collect it and immediately take the tissue to the hospital.
Missing Heart Beat - Missed Abortion
If the doctor cannot find a heart beat in the second trimester during a regular doctor’s visit or as part of an emergency visit it could be one of the signs of miscarriage. At times, the heart beat can be difficult to find with a Doppler hand held unit, but an ultrasound will verify the missing heart beat.
Recognizing the signs of miscarriage in the second trimester is important for the health of the pregnant woman. Many of these symptoms will appear after the fetus has stopped growing and thus there is no medical intervention that can be done to save the pregnancy. Doctors will often perform a medical procedure to remove the fetus if the signs of miscarriage lead to a diagnosis of miscarriage.