Birth Definitions

Threatened Miscarriage Definition


A threatened miscarriage is when you experience symptoms that suggest that you may miscarry, but the pregnancy is still viable. This can happen in the early stages of pregnancy, before you even know you’re pregnant. Symptoms of a threatened miscarriage include vaginal bleeding and cramping. The bleeding may be light or heavy, and it may or may not be accompanied by clots. The cramping may be mild or severe. In most cases, a threatened miscarriage will resolve on its own and the pregnancy will continue without any further complications. However, if the bleeding continues or gets worse, it can lead to an inevitable miscarriage.

While a threatened miscarriage can be a very frightening experience, it does not necessarily mean that the pregnancy will end in miscarriage. In fact, most women who experience a threatened miscarriage go on to have healthy babies. However, there are some risk factors associated with threatened miscarriages that you should be aware of.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that increase your chances of having a threatened miscarriage. These include:

  • Previous history of miscarriage
  • Age (being over 35 or under 20)
  • Lifestyle factors (smoking, drinking alcohol)
  • Underlying health conditions (diabetes, hypertension)
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Nutritional deficiencies 


The main complication of a threatened miscarriage is an inevitable miscarriage. This occurs when the bleeding and cramping continue and the pregnancy is no longer viable. In some cases, a threatened miscarriage can also lead to an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo implants outside of the uterus. This is a potentially life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical attention.

Disambiguation Details

When discussing threatened miscarriages, it’s important to distinguish between early and late miscarriages. An early miscarriage is defined as a pregnancy that ends before 20 weeks gestation. A late miscarriage is defined as a pregnancy that ends between 20-24 weeks gestation. A threatened miscarriage can occur at any point during pregnancy, but it’s more common in the early stages. 

Other Related Terms

Some terms that are closely associated with threatened miscarriage include: 

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Abortion

This image shows how often the term ‘Threatened Miscarriage’ is used in relation to other, similar birth terms:

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