A miscarriage is a spontaneous event that results in the early termination of pregnancy. It usually occurs before 20 to 22 weeks of pregnancy and the cause may remain unknown.
Sever abdominal cramps early into pregnancy may indicate miscarriage. These cramping pains are often difficult to bear and typically last from 5-20 minutes. Cramps are usually accompanied by excessive bleeding.
Beyond severe abdominal cramps, other miscarriage symptoms include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, including pieces of blood clots or placental or fetal tissue (a definite indication of miscarriage)
- Heavy bleeding may occur without cramps for some women
- Abnormal weight loss
- Brownish or pink vaginal discharge
- Decreased breast tenderness
- Decreased morning sickness
- Loss of a fetal heartbeat
- Sudden absence of fetal movement
Pregnant women who experience these signs and symptoms must immediately consult a doctor or go to the emergency department to obtain appropriate care.
An ectopic pregnancy is another possible cause of abnormal abdominal cramps in early pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg is implanted in the fallopian tube, cervix, or abdomen instead of the uterus. Signs and symptoms include unbearable cramping, pelvic pain, headache, fever, dizziness, and blood clots in the urine. Ectopic pregnancy can threaten the life of the mother, so women who experience these symptoms should be taken to the hospital immediately.