Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor may do a variety of tests:

  • Pelvic exam. Your doctor will check to see if your cervix has begun to dilate.
  • Ultrasound. This helps your doctor check for a fetal heartbeat and determine if the embryo is developing normally.
  • Blood tests. If you've miscarried, measurements of the pregnancy hormone, beta HCG, can occasionally be useful in determining if you've completely passed all placental tissue.
  • Tissue tests. If you have passed tissue, it can be sent to the laboratory to confirm that a miscarriage has occurred — and that your symptoms aren't related to another cause of pregnancy bleeding.

Possible diagnoses include:

  • Threatened miscarriage. If you're bleeding but your cervix hasn't begun to dilate, there is a threat of miscarriage. Such pregnancies often proceed without any further problems.
  • Inevitable miscarriage. If you're bleeding, your uterus is contracting and your cervix is dilated, a miscarriage is inevitable.
  • Incomplete miscarriage. If you pass some of the fetal or placental material but some remains in your uterus, it's considered an incomplete miscarriage.
  • Missed miscarriage. The placental and embryonic tissues remain in the uterus, but the embryo has died or was never formed.
  • Complete miscarriage. If you have passed all the pregnancy tissues, it's considered a complete miscarriage. This is common for miscarriages occurring before 12 weeks.
  • Septic miscarriage. If you develop an infection in your uterus, it's known as a septic miscarriage. This can be a very severe infection and demands immediate care.
Jul. 09, 2013

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