Diagnosis of Miscarriage

The most important test for the proper diagnosis of a miscarriage is an ultrasound. In the early weeks of pregnancy, a vaginal ultrasound may be preformed as it offers a closer view of the uterus and pregnancy. This procedure is completely safe even for women who fall in the high-risk category of miscarriage. An ultrasound will indicate a fetal heartbeat as early as six weeks of pregnancy. However, often a follow-up ultrasound a week later is required to determine if the embryo is developing or not.

Other tests for miscarriage include blood tests and a manual exam. These tests check for the presence of the HcG hormone. If a pregnancy is normal, the level of HcG will keep doubling every 48 hours. However, if it is a case of a failed pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy, the HcG levels may fall or rise only marginally. A manual gynecological exam will allow your doctor to check for uterine tenderness, bloody discharge and if the cervix and uterus are enlarging as per the expected schedule of a normal pregnancy.

Depending on the signs and tests results, the possible diagnoses of miscarriage could be:

  • Threatened Miscarriage: In such cases there is bleeding and a threat of miscarriage but if the cervix has not dilated as well, your pregnancy could proceed normally with sufficient rest.
  • Inevitable Miscarriage: Bleeding combined with uterine contractions means that a miscarriage is inevitable.
  • Incomplete Miscarriage: Where some fetal or placental matter is passed out but may still require surgical intervention to remove the remaining matter from the uterus.
  • Missed Miscarriage: Where the embryo did not form or an embryo which has died prematurely in the uterus.
  • Complete Miscarriage: When all the fetal and placental tissues are passed. This generally occurs only before 12 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Septic Miscarriage: When an infection that develops in the uterus causes the miscarriage. This is a serious medical condition and requires immediate treatment.

Frequently asked questions
Myra Parsons, Michele Simpson, Terri Ponton, Raspberry leaf and its effect on labour: Safety and efficacy, Australian College of Midwives Incorporated Journal, Volume 12, Issue 3, September 1999, Pages 20-25, ISSN 1031-170X, 10.1016/S1031-170X(99)80008-7.
Keywords: labour; pregnancy; raspberry leaf; safety