Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation.
An estimated 25% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.
The actual number is likely to be much higher.
Many miscarriages occur very early, often before a woman knows she is pregnant.
Miscarriage is a very emotionally and physically difficult time; the fear of the unknown can make the experience even worse.
What Does Miscarriage Bleeding Look Like?
Most women know there can be bleeding during most miscarriages but they might not know exactly what to expect.
Miscarriage bleeding varies a great deal between women and we don’t know why.
This article will help you to understand what blood looks like when a miscarriage occurs.
Remember, if you’re concerned or worried by the amount or the colour of any bleeding, contact your care provider immediately.
What Does Blood Look Like During A Miscarriage?
The most common sign of a miscarriage is bleeding. It can be accompanied by cramping in the lower back or abdomen.
The earliest bleeding can vary in appearance. Some women will have a brownish discharge. Others might notice a clear fluid with a pink tinge.
It might stop and start (spotting) before settling into a heavier flow of bright red blood.
This flow might suddenly become quite heavy and can come as a shock, especially if the earlier spotting happened over a few days. Usually this heavy bleeding lasts from a few hours up to 1 or 2 days.
Many early miscarriages look like heavy menstrual periods. If the miscarriage is happening very early – before 4 to 5 weeks – then there might be no visible tissue or only very small clots.
However, from 6 weeks, it’s likely larger clots will be visible. They can be quite firm and, depending on how many weeks gestation you are, there might be many of them.
In a miscarriage after 6 weeks, there could be an identifiable fetus and placenta, which will be greyish in colour. This can be quite confronting and you should be told this is likely so you can be prepared, especially if you are more than 10 weeks pregnant.
Some care providers will suggest you collect clots with fetal tissue, so they can be sent for analysis, particularly if you have had more than one or two previous miscarriages.
This isn’t always possible and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do so.
Remember, miscarriage bleeding will taper off after the pregnancy tissue has passed, and will usually stop after 1-2 weeks. If you have any concerns about the colour or amount of blood you are passing, contact your care provider immediately.