Different terms are used to describe miscarriage, depending on what is found during an ultrasound scan or an internal examination.
Threatened miscarriage is the term given to bleeding early in pregnancy, but in which the cervix remains closed. In this case, the bleeding stops after a few days, and the pregnancy is likely to continue.
Inevitable miscarriage occurs when there is bleeding and the cervix is open, meaning that the fetus will be lost. If the pregnancy is less than eight weeks, the bleeding may be like a heavy, painful period. After eight weeks, the bleeding may be considerably heavier.
Incomplete miscarriage occurs when there is bleeding and the cervix opens, but the uterus doesn't expel its entire contents and some pregnancy tissue is left behind.
Complete miscarriage is when there is bleeding, the cervix opens, and the uterus expels all the pregnancy tissues.
Missed miscarriage is less usual. There may be no miscarriage symptoms, but the pregnancy stops developing and the miscarriage isn't diagnosed until the routine scan at around 12 weeks.