1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

How Much Cramping and Pain Is Normal During a Miscarriage?

By

Updated July 13, 2009

Question: How Much Cramping and Pain Is Normal During a Miscarriage?

As with most other medical issues, there is a lot of individual variation in how miscarriages happen.

Answer:

The amount of cramping during a miscarriage tends to vary by the person and how far along the pregnancy was at the time of the loss.

In a very early miscarriage before 5 weeks, also called a chemical pregnancy, the cramping will probably be only slightly heavier than in a menstrual period. Some women may not notice a difference in the amount of cramping.

In a miscarriage that happens in the middle to late first trimester, the cramping can be anywhere from barely noticeable to heavy and intense. Heavy cramping during a miscarriage is usually not a sign of a medical emergency, but in any case that you are concerned, it is wise to check with your doctor to rule out complications -- and your doctor should also be able to recommend an appropriate painkiller. (Remember that if you have any concern that you might have an ectopic pregnancy, you should go to the emergency room.)

In some cases, having a D & C might mean less intense physical pain for a miscarriage later in the first trimester.

Sources:

Johnson, Nick, Mike Priestnall, Thelma Marsay, Paul Ballard, and Joan Watters, "A randomised trial evaluating pain and bleeding after a first trimester miscarriage treated surgically or medically." European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology Apr 1997. Accessed 2 Apr 2008.

Luise, Ciro, Karen Jermy, Caroline May, Gillian Costello, William P. Collins, and Thomas H. Bourne, "Outcome of expectant management of spontaneous first trimester miscarriage: observational study." BMJ Apr 2002. Accessed 2 Apr 2008.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.