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Why miscarriage after 6 weeks?

Miscarriage is a tragic event that unfortunately many women experience. Around 10-20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, most often before 12 weeks of gestation. Miscarriage after 6 weeks of pregnancy can be especially devastating, as this is often when women first start to get excited about their pregnancy and making plans for the future baby. In this article, we will explore why miscarriage after 6 weeks occurs and provide information and support for those going through this difficult experience.

What is Miscarriage?

Miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion, is when a pregnancy ends unexpectedly before 20 weeks of gestation. The medical community typically recognizes miscarriage occurring before 12 weeks as an “early miscarriage.” Most miscarriages (around 80%) happen in the first trimester before 12 weeks. After a miscarriage, the pregnancy tissue and products of conception are expelled from the uterus.

Miscarriage is very common – studies show anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. However, the actual number is likely higher as many miscarriages occur very early on before a woman knows she is pregnant. Some studies estimate up to 75% of all conceptions fail to develop into a viable pregnancy.

Despite being so common, miscarriage can be incredibly traumatic and heartbreaking for expecting parents. The loss of a wanted pregnancy is devastating regardless of when it happens.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common signs of a miscarriage after 6 weeks of pregnancy are:

  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • Cramping or pain in the lower abdomen
  • Tissue or clots passing from the vagina
  • Sudden decrease in pregnancy symptoms like nausea or fatigue

While concerning, light spotting and cramping can also be normal in early pregnancy. However, if the bleeding is heavy and accompanied by severe cramps, it likely indicates miscarriage. It’s always best to contact your doctor right away if you have any worrying symptoms.


There are a number of possible reasons a miscarriage may happen, although the exact cause often can’t be pinpointed. Some of the main causes of miscarriage after 6 weeks include:

  • Chromosomal abnormalities – The most common cause of early miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo/fetus that prevent it from developing properly. In the first few weeks of gestation, chromosomes copy themselves many times over as cells quickly divide. Sometimes errors can occur, leading to too many or too few chromosomes. This is usually a result of chance and there is nothing the mother could have done to prevent it.
  • Hormonal problems – Issues with hormones like progesterone that support the pregnancy can lead to miscarriage. Luteal phase defects where the corpus luteum does not produce enough progesterone are a potential hormonal cause.
  • Implantation problems – If the embryo does not properly implant into the uterine lining, it cannot receive nutrients and will not survive.
  • Maternal health conditions – Certain maternal health problems like uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disorders, infections, and autoimmune diseases can increase miscarriage risk.
  • Anatomical abnormalities – Physical abnormalities in the structure of the uterus or cervix may make miscarriage more likely.
  • Weakened cervix – Some women have a cervix that starts to open too early in pregnancy, causing miscarriage.
  • Polyps or fibroids – Non-cancerous growths in the uterus can interfere with implantation and lead to miscarriage.
  • Lifestyle factors – Things like smoking, drug use, excessive caffeine/alcohol, stress, and obesity may contribute to miscarriage risk.

Oftentimes, no cause can be identified. The chromosomes, hormones, and anatomy may appear normal, yet miscarriage still occurs for unknown reasons. This is referred to as “unexplained miscarriage” and is especially frustrating for expecting parents.

Risk Factors

While any woman can experience miscarriage, there are some factors that increase the chances of it occurring:

  • Advanced maternal age – Risk increases after age 35, more significantly after 40.
  • History of previous miscarriages – Having one miscarriage increases the odds of another.
  • Uterine or cervical abnormalities
  • Chronic medical conditions in the mother
  • Genetic problems carried by the parents
  • Hormonal or immunologic issues
  • Being extremely underweight or overweight
  • High alcohol, caffeine or drug consumption
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Working night shifts or high-stress jobs

When to See a Doctor

If you experience worrying symptoms like heavy vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramps during early pregnancy, it’s important to contact your doctor right away. They can do an ultrasound to determine if miscarriage is occurring and monitor the situation.

There are some cases where miscarriage can be prevented or delayed by medical treatment, especially if caught in the very early stages. Your doctor may be able to suggest interventions like progesterone supplements, bed rest, avoiding sex or strenuous activity, etc. Even if the outcome can’t be changed, they can ensure you are healthy and safe throughout the process.

Additionally, your doctor can do testing on any tissue passed to determine if there is an identifiable cause for the miscarriage like chromosomal abnormalities or anatomical problems. This information can be useful in planning future pregnancies.

What to Expect With Miscarriage

The way a miscarriage progresses varies for each woman’s individual situation. Here is a general overview of what to expect:

  • Light bleeding/spotting – This is often the first sign. The bleeding may stop and start again or be constant.
  • Cramping and pelvic pain – As the uterus contracts to expel pregnancy tissue, strong cramping typically occurs.
  • Heavy bleeding – Heavier bleeding follows, along with passing blood clots and pregnancy tissue. Bleeding can last several hours or days.
  • Pregnancy symptoms fade – Nausea, fatigue, and breast soreness will diminish as hormone levels fall.
  • Follow up doctor’s visit – Your doctor will want to confirm the miscarriage is complete and no tissue remains. They will also review options for testing or treatment.
  • Emotional impacts – Miscarriage causes significant psychological effects like grief, anxiety, guilt, and depression for most women and their partners.

While the physical symptoms usually resolve within a couple weeks, the emotional effects of miscarriage often linger much longer. Be sure to seek support and care for your mental health after this loss.

Recovering Emotionally After Miscarriage

Miscarriage is often described as an emotionally rollercoaster event. Some tips for coping and recovering emotionally include:

  • Allowing yourself fully grieve – grief has no timeline
  • Seeking counseling or support groups
  • Practicing self-care and being gentle with yourself
  • Talking through emotions with loved ones
  • Doing activities that bring you comfort and joy
  • Journaling or expressing emotions creatively through art, music, etc.
  • Focusing on what you can control like eating well, exercising, getting sleep
  • Considering ways to memorialize the lost baby like planting a tree or doing something symbolic
  • Being patient on your journey – healing is not linear

The grief of miscarriage is real and profound. Give yourself as much time and space for healing as you need, and don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare provider for extra support managing difficult emotions.

Trying Again After Miscarriage

For women/couples hoping to conceive again after miscarriage, it can be scary to try another pregnancy. Some important things to know are:

  • Most experts recommend waiting at least 1-3 normal menstrual cycles before trying again, to allow the uterus to recover.
  • It’s normal to feel anxious but statistically, chances of another miscarriage are still low.
  • Ask your doctor if you need any special testing or care before attempting another pregnancy.
  • Work on building your overall health – diet, exercise, stress management, prenatal vitamins.
  • Join a pregnancy-after-loss support group to manage fears and anxieties better.
  • Once pregnant, call your doctor early on to start more intensive monitoring if desired.
  • Consider temporary use of medications like progesterone as a preventative measure.
  • Talk through concerns with your partner and lean on each other.

For many couples, the desire to have a child keeps them moving forward despite fear. Having faith and finding hope again often helps in working towards a successful pregnancy.


While most miscarriages cannot be prevented since they are out of our control, there are some things that may help reduce the risk:

  • Live a healthy lifestyle – maintain a healthy BMI, exercise regularly, do not smoke/drink excessively
  • Take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid before and during pregnancy
  • Manage any chronic medical conditions like diabetes or hypothyroidism
  • Avoid known hazardous exposures at work or home
  • Limit caffeine and artificial sweetener intake
  • Treat any vaginal infections prior to pregnancy
  • Get screened and treated for STDs that can impact pregnancy
  • Use medications like low-dose aspirin if you have clotting disorders
  • Ask your doctor about progesterone supplementation if you have had multiple losses
  • Avoid stressful situations/travel if possible during the first trimester

Additionally, getting any anatomical abnormalities or hormone imbalances corrected and resolved can make a difference prior to conceiving again.

When to Seek Emergency Care

During a miscarriage, it is possible for a woman to experience potentially dangerous complications. Seek prompt emergency medical care if you have:

  • Severe bleeding that soaks through more than 2 pads per hour
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Severe or worsening abdominal pain
  • Fever over 100.4F
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • Feeling very sick with vomiting or diarrhea

These can be signs you are hemorrhaging or have an infection, which require immediate treatment. Miscarriage bleeding is typically not excessively heavy, so clots larger than a lemon or bleeding lasting 2+ weeks also warrants urgent care.


Miscarriage, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, is a sad reality many hopeful expecting couples face. Even with the most tender loving care, it is often out of human hands. While medical science has uncovered some of the potential causes of miscarriage, at least 50% of the time it remains unexplained.

For women having miscarriage after 6 weeks, it is an incredibly difficult and emotional experience. The promise and joy of new life turns suddenly to profound loss and grief. Healing physically and emotionally takes time and the support of loved ones. But for many, the journey continues on toward having a healthy baby in the future.

If you or someone you love has suffered an early pregnancy loss, know that you are not alone. Resources exist to help you through this time. Talk to your doctor to ensure you get the best care possible, both medically and for your heart. Be gentle and take the time you need to grieve. And when you are ready, have faith in trying again – you have not lost your chance to hold that baby in your arms one day.