Difference Between Period and Miscarriage

When you are trying to become pregnant, every little twinge can make you feel concerned. You want to be even more careful when you have miscarried before. Early symptoms of a miscarriage are not always the same for every woman. It is better to trust your intuition and keep a close eye on any change in the timing of your period. Knowing how to tell the difference between period and miscarriage can be of great value. Let's learn more about it.

What Happens in a Miscarriage?

Paying attention to certain symptoms helps you make a decision if you have experienced an early miscarriage or not. Here is more about it.

You have a miscarriage when your pregnancy terminates before week 20. Statistics show that most miscarriages happen around 6 to 11 weeks because the fetus is very small at this stage. Interestingly, most women do not even know that they were even pregnant.

Most miscarriages happen because of certain chromosomal abnormalities, which make it difficult for the fetus to survive for the whole 9 months. When this happens, your body sheds of pregnancy related tissue from the uterus, including the dead fetus, in the form of blood flow. If you have already used a home pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy, you would know that the bleeding is the outcome of an early miscarriage. That is not always the case though, especially when you do not know about your pregnancy and experience late menstrual flow, usually delayed by 2 to 4 weeks. That is when it becomes important to understand the difference between period and miscarriage.

Subtle Differences Between a Miscarriage and a Delayed Period

Here are some of the basic differences that help you differentiate between a miscarriage and a delayed menstrual period:

Consistency and Color of Vaginal Discharge

You are more likely to notice brownish red color or old blood in case of a delayed period. It is usually quite the same as your regular menstrual flow. The flow of a miscarriage is usually a brownish discharge first that later becomes red or bright pink later. The flow is quite heavy with bigger clots in case of a miscarriage, and it continues up to 2-3 days. You may notice kidney shaped tissue mass during the blood flow, including a ball shaped sac containing the fetus in case your pregnancy was 6-8 weeks old.

Type of Pain and Cramps

You can tell the difference between period and miscarriage by the pain you feel. It is natural to experience some discomfort in your thighs, abdomen, and legs just before you have your period. The cramps usually reduce in intensity with the start of your period – some women only find some relief after the end of the bleeding.

In case of a miscarriage, you experience sudden onset of pain with cramps that can be extremely painful. The pain is usually different from your regular periods. While the pain is usually severe, it becomes more bearable after a short time.

Severe Low Back Pain

It is quite natural to experience lower back pain or at least slight discomfort in your lower back before the start of your period. The pain is usually tolerable and you feel better after rest. That does not happen in case of a miscarriage because the lower back pain is severe and usually intolerable, especially because of cramps and heavy blood flow.

Presence of Fever

What's more, you may get a fever after a miscarriage, which is not common during regular menstrual flow. This increase in body temperature indicates internal infection, and the condition requires medical attention.

What About Blood Clots and Miscarriage?

You may notice blood clots and abdominal pain during regular menstrual periods, but it is possible for blood clots to accumulate in the uterus after you have experienced a miscarriage.

Blood Clots

You will pass blood clots after a miscarriage, and there may still be some mild bleeding after complete evacuation of tissue – the blood may come from the vessels of the endometrium. You can pass these blood clots without any issue in most cases, but it is possible to develop infections and experience certain complications, such as endometritis. Keep in mind that your blood clots could also be due to heavy menstruation. Your doctor may give you painkillers and anti-firbinolytic drugs to manage your condition better.

Difference Between Blood Clots and Miscarriage

Your body passes blood clots during menorrhagia as well as miscarriages. Here are some basic differences:

  • Blood clots are more like red clumps of blood but miscarriage releases tissue parts.
  • The external OS is not open during heavy menstruation, threatened miscarriage, and complete miscarriage, but stays open during incomplete miscarriage.
  • Blood clots appear as black areas on ultrasound scans.
  • Fetal heart is present only in threatened miscarriage.

Implantation Bleeding vs. Miscarriage

Knowing the difference between period and miscarriage bleeding is important, but you may also want to know how to differentiate between implantation bleeding and miscarriage.

You notice implantation bleeding when a fertilized egg first implants itself into the lining of the uterus. You may notice light bleeding soon after ovulation but it is usually before your next period is due. The basic different between a miscarriage and an implantation bleeding is the timing.

You usually experience implantation bleedings 7-10 days after ovulation, but early miscarriages usually start at the time of your expected period or after it. This may not help you much in case you have irregular cycles and do not know exactly when your next period is due. However, it is worth pointing out that an implantation bleeding is usually not as heavy as the flow of blood is during a miscarriage. An implantation bleeding may only consist of a few drops of blood. Again, it may vary a lot because some women experience slightly heavier implantation bleedings with brown blood, while others may notice pinkish or even black blood. It does not last for several days though.

What’s more, you usually notice no clots during an implantation bleeding. There may still be a light cramping during implantation bleedings but it is not nearly as painful as you experience during a miscarriage. Know that you have just had an implantation bleeding if it is getting better after a short time and the pain is rather manageable.