Healthy living

Miscarriage

Miscarriage

Miscarriage in early pregnancy is common.

How common are miscarriages?

About 20 per cent of women (1 in 5) who know they are pregnant have a miscarriage in the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy. About 80 per cent of these miscarriages occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Many women miscarry before they even know they are pregnant. One study that tracked women’s hormone levels daily to detect very early pregnancy determined a miscarriage rate of 31 per cent.

Types of miscarriages

There are different types of miscarriages that occur for different reasons.

  • Incomplete miscarriage – some pregnancy tissue (the developing baby, placenta and pregnancy membranes) is passed from the uterus (the organ that contains and nurtures the developing baby) and the rest remains in the uterus.
  • Induced miscarriage – a planned, voluntary termination of a pregnancy. Sometimes an induced miscarriage is necessary due to medical conditions of the woman or the baby. An induced miscarriage may be a medical process or a surgical procedure.
  • Missed miscarriage – the developing baby has died and all the pregnancy tissue remains in the uterus.
  • Spontaneous miscarriage – the unplanned complete loss from the uterus of the pregnancy tissue in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Threatened miscarriage – vaginal bleeding that occurs over several days or weeks. It is difficult to predict at this time if the pregnancy may end or continue.

Treatment options for miscarriage

Treatment options for miscarriage will vary depending upon the type of miscarriage and individual circumstances. 

Learn about miscarriage treatment options.

Where to get help

  • See your doctor
  • Visit a GP after hours
  • Ring healthdirect on 1800 022 222

Acknowledgements

Women and Newborn Health Service


This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

See also

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