Difference Between Period Clots & Miscarriage


Given that most miscarriages occur during the first trimester of pregnancy, for those that happen early on, women may not even realize that they were pregnant. Especially if bleeding occurs around the time that they expect to get their periods, some women may mistake the heavier flow and clotting as an abnormal period. This is why it is important to be able to recognize the difference between the two so that medical assistance can be sought to ensure that women’s health is not in jeopardy. And because there are differences between period clotting and early miscarriage, knowing which is which can be easily determined if it is clear what to look for.

With miscarriage occurring in 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies during the first trimester, it is not surprising that many women will worry about losing their pregnancy at least occasionally during the first 12 weeks of gestation. And while miscarriage can also occur during the second and third trimesters, it is not as common. Because of this, the fear of it begins to dissipate, especially as babies begin to kick and make their presence known during the second trimester. This is why many choose to wait to announce their pregnancy until they feel safe, knowing that the risk of miscarriage has decreased.

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Here are the differences between period clots and early miscarriage.

Similarities Between Pregnancy Clots & Miscarriage

via Pexels/cottonbro

It is not uncommon to have some months that produce a heavier flow and shedding of the uterus than others. Be it from lack of sleep, stress, eating poorly, or more of the lining being shed, according to Elite Daily, periods can vary from month to month. This is why when having an early miscarriage, differentiating between the two may take some investigation to do.

According to Patient, women who are having a period with clots and a miscarriage will both have vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain to accompany the clotting. It is the rate at which the bleeding occurs and the type of clots that appear that will determine whether a miscarriage or a heavy period is being had.

What Differentiates Clots From A Miscarriage

Some women will experience blood clots every month they have their periods. This, according to DifferenceBetween.net has to do with leading a sedentary lifestyle, having a disorder of the cervix, hormonal imbalances, implantation of an IUD, polyps in the uterus, and more. Therefore, these women should have a good handle on what their normal flow looks like, as well as, what their clots look like month to month.

If women are not used to getting blood clots, this would be the first indication that something is off with their flow. Further still, per the publication, when cramping occurs, it not only occurs in the lower abdomen but cramping can occur in the lower back and legs as well and will be more severe than any cramping had during a menstrual cycle.

Other issues that women suffering a miscarriage would experience that they would not with period clots, according to DifferenceBetween.net, is that there is fluid other than what would normally be discharged during a period seen mixed with blood. When they see clotting, the clots may also appear to be white or grey in color as well.

Timing On Bleeding

via Pexels/Polina Zimmerman

Most women have fairly consistent periods every month. Because of this, if bleeding and clotting are happening around that time, it is likely as a result of their period versus miscarriage.

If sudden, heavy bleeding with clotting occurs at a time other than when a menstrual cycle is expected, according to March of Dimes, it can be anticipated that a miscarriage is occurring. As such, women should see a doctor if this occurs to confirm that this is the case. And if it is not, it is necessary to get to the bottom of what the bleeding is.

What To Watch For

When an early miscarriage occurs before eight weeks gestation, the results may be that it resembles heavy flow during a period, according to KidsHealth. It is when there are some other characteristics present that a determination can be made as to why bleeding and clotting are occurring.

According to UC Davis Health, when a miscarriage is occurring, there may be a brown “discharge” that resembles coffee grounds present. This will not be part of a period with blood clots. As such, this is a clear indication that a miscarriage is unfortunately occurring and it is not period clots instead.

How Often Pads Are Having To Be Changed

via Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

Pregnancy clotting alone will not cause sanitary napkins to need to be changed with great frequency. If women have polyps, fibroids, or irregular ovulation, they may go through several pads within an hour for the duration of their periods, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. However, if this is not a known problem, it is a good indication that an early miscarriage is occurring.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, when a miscarriage occurs will determine just how much flow occurs. For many, this could mean that pads are filled at the rate of more than two every hour for several hours. If this occurs, per the publication, healthcare providers should be contacted immediately to determine the best course of action.

When To See A Doctor

The bottom line is if there is any large amount of vaginal bleeding or clotting occurring, women need to be in contact with their doctors to determine why the bleeding is occurring. Be it a miscarriage, excessive clotting, or an undiagnosed health problem, something is happening that is outside of the norm. And as a result, to be as healthy as possible, an answer needs to be provided by doctors along with a definitive course of action.


Source: Elite Daily, Patient, DifferenceBetween.net, March of Dimes, KidsHealth, UC Davis Health, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Pregnancy Association

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