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Confirming a miscarriage

An ultrasound scan diagnoses most miscarriages. It may also diagnose miscarriages where some of the pregnancy remains in your womb.

You might not be referred for an ultrasound if you:

  • take a pregnancy test which gives a negative result
  • are very early on in your pregnancy - it is hard to confirm a miscarriage in early pregnancy

Transvaginal ultrasound scan

During a suspected miscarriage, you may get a transvaginal ultrasound scan. This is an ultrasound where a medical professional places a probe in your vagina. This scan gives a clearer image of your uterus.

This type of scan is safe for you to have if you're having a miscarriage, even if you are bleeding. If you are not having a miscarriage, the scan will not harm your baby.

Blood test

You may have to have a blood test.

Sometimes it can take several weeks to see if a miscarriage has occurred. You might need to have more than one ultrasound scan and more blood tests.

Early pregnancy assessment units (EPAUs)

You may be seen at your maternity hospital’s early pregnancy assessment unit (EPAU) or in the emergency unit. The EPAU cares for women having problems in the first 3 months of pregnancy.

The EPAU is usually staffed by an obstetrician, a midwife and someone who can do ultrasound scans, as well as reception staff. It will co-ordinate your care.

Hospitals try to keep the service partially separate from the rest of the hospital but this is generally only feasible for limited hours. If you need have follow-up appointments, these usually happen at the maternity hospital’s EPAU.

Page last reviewed: 20/11/2018
Next review due: 20/11/2021