Passing clots or tissue during miscarriage

During a miscarriage, some women pass blood clots or grayish matter (fetal tissue) from the vagina.

  • All tissue, including the embryo or fetus and the placenta, may pass from the uterus. This is called complete miscarriage or complete spontaneous abortion.
  • Some tissue may pass from the uterus. This is called an incomplete miscarriage or incomplete spontaneous abortion.
  • None of the tissue may pass from the uterus. This is called a missed abortion or blighted ovum.

If symptoms of a miscarriage occur without any fetal tissue passing from the vagina, an ultrasound may be done to determine whether the fetus is still alive.

If testing shows that the fetus has died but tissue has not passed from the vagina treatment may be needed to remove the fetal tissue from the uterus. This depends on how far along the pregnancy has developed.

Last Updated: May 7, 2009

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