Can a miscarriage come out in the toilet?

Quick Answer

Yes, it is possible for tissue from a miscarriage to come out in the toilet. During a miscarriage, the uterine lining sheds along with the pregnancy. This tissue has to pass out of the body somehow, and the toilet is one route for this to happen. Small clots or tissue may be found in the toilet bowl or on toilet paper after using the restroom during a miscarriage. However, heavy bleeding and larger clots usually pass into a pad or underwear rather than into the toilet.

Overview of Miscarriage

A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation. Miscarriage is very common, occurring in about 10-20% of known pregnancies. Most miscarriages happen very early on, before a woman even knows she is pregnant. A miscarriage may be discovered through bleeding and cramping, loss of pregnancy symptoms, or absence of a heartbeat at an ultrasound.

There are several types of miscarriage:

– Threatened miscarriage – Some vaginal bleeding occurs but the cervix remains closed and the pregnancy continues. About half of threatened miscarriages go on to miscarry.

– Inevitable miscarriage – Bleeding and cervical dilation occur, indicating the miscarriage is unavoidable.

– Incomplete miscarriage – Tissue remains in the uterus after the miscarriage starts. Additional treatment is usually needed to empty the uterus.

– Complete miscarriage – All pregnancy tissue passes naturally from the uterus. No additional treatment is needed.

– Missed miscarriage – The embryo dies but remains in the uterus, with no bleeding or cramping. It is discovered at a prenatal checkup.

– Septic miscarriage – Miscarriage occurs alongside an infection. This is rare but very dangerous.

Where Does the Tissue Go During a Miscarriage?

During a miscarriage, the pregnancy tissue (embryo and placenta) along with the uterine lining shed and have to pass out through the vagina. Most miscarriage tissue is small, since first trimester miscarriages are most common. The tissue may come out in clots, stringy bits, or tissue chunks. Heavier clots and bigger tissue pieces usually come out into a pad, underwear, or when sitting on the toilet. Smaller bits of tissue may wind up in the toilet bowl or on toilet paper when a woman uses the bathroom during a miscarriage. The toilet bowl provides another route for the tissue to exit the body.

Some women do report seeing small gray, red, brown, or white flecks and clots in the toilet or on toilet paper. This is completely normal in a miscarriage, as tiny bits of tissue make their way out gradually. However, most women do not see the sac, embryo, or any very large tissue pieces come out into the toilet. Large clots and heavy bleeding will usually occur into a pad instead. But every woman’s experience can be a little different.

Signs of Miscarriage Tissue in the Toilet

Here are some signs that you may find miscarriage tissue in the toilet or on toilet paper:

– Small clots or flecks in the toilet after urinating during a miscarriage

– Gray, red or brown stringy bits on the toilet paper when wiping

– Bright red blood in the toilet bowl mixed with small clots

– White, gray or yellow tissue in the toilet – this may be small bits of fetal or pregnancy tissue

– Heavier bleeding and passage of large clots or tissue into the toilet water – this is less common than bleeding into a pad, but can sometimes occur, especially with an incomplete miscarriage

– Strong cramping or contraction-like pain when passing tissue into the toilet

– Lower back pain accompanying the cramping and bleeding

– Bleeding and cramping persist even after using the bathroom and emptying the uterus

– Foul odor from vaginal discharge or bleeding – this could indicate a septic miscarriage and requires urgent medical care

If you have any of these symptoms, save any tissue that you pass for inspection by your doctor. This can help confirm it was a miscarriage. Contact your doctor right away if you are less than 20 weeks pregnant with heavy bleeding, severe pain, fever, chills, or foul-smelling discharge as these can be signs of a dangerous infection.

What Does Tissue from a Miscarriage Look Like?

Here are some descriptions of what the tissue may look like when you pass remnants of the pregnancy during a miscarriage:

– Small white, grayish or yellowish flecks or clumps – These may be bits of fetal tissue.

– Tiny sacs containing blood or fluid – These are gestational sacs, and they can be a variety of colors including white, pink or brown.

– firm tissue chunks or clots – These may be placental tissue or blood clots. Placental tissue is often gray or pink/purple.

– long, stringy tissue – Decidual tissue from the uterine lining may look like long strings or have a jelly-like texture.

– fluid or bleeding containing bubbles or streaks of white – This can be amniotic fluid with fetal cells.

The tissue may be hard to identify visually, but saving any passed tissue helps doctors confirm it. The tissue often does not contain an identifiable embryo if the miscarriage is very early. But visible embryos, while rare, can be passed naturally with heavy bleeding. Contact your doctor if you see an intact embryo.

Why Does Tissue Come Out in the Toilet with a Miscarriage?

There are a few reasons miscarriage tissue may wind up coming out when you use the toilet:

– Sitting on the toilet relaxes the pelvic muscles and opens the vaginal canal, allowing any tissue at the vaginal opening to descend. Bearing down to empty the bowels can also move tissue along.

– The splash of urine may dislodge bits of tissue that were clinging to vaginal walls. Urination may stimulate mild contractions to expel tissue.

– Toilet paper may catch small flecks of tissue by wiping along vaginal walls and picking up any present debris.

– The toilet bowl provides a direct exit for whatever comes out through the vaginal opening. Gravity draws tissue downward.

– Changes in position from standing to sitting on the toilet may shift tissue lower in the vagina so it can be expelled into the bowl.

– Running water may encourage the body to push out any remaining contents.

– Miscarriage often involves on and off bleeding. New spots of blood may come out when using the toilet between heavier bouts of bleeding into a pad.

So in summary, the act of urinating or having a bowel movement along with the positioning on the toilet just allows for a convenient route for any already loosening bits of tissue to exit the body. The toilet bowl gives an easy direct exit.

What to Expect with Bleeding from a Miscarriage

The bleeding during a miscarriage can vary:

– Light spotting may last days to weeks and may stop temporarily before becoming heavier.

– Heavier bleeding with clots usually occurs suddenly and intensely but slows down again within hours or days.

– Heavy bleeding often happens when standing or moving around rather than just when sitting on the toilet.

– Bleeding and cramping may come and go sporadically over days or weeks during the miscarriage.

– Total blood loss is usually not greater than a normal period, though rarely heavy bleeding requires emergency care.

– Bleeding should taper off within one or two weeks after a complete miscarriage. Persistent heavy bleeding indicates retained tissue.

– Light spotting can recur on and off for up to a month after the miscarriage as the uterine lining continues to shed any debris left behind.

Contact your doctor if you soak more than 2 pads an hour for 2 hours, have severe pain, lightheadedness, fever or foul-smelling discharge. These can indicate a dangerous complication like infection, hemorrhage or ectopic pregnancy. Seek emergency care if you have any of these severe symptoms.

Dealing with Miscarriage Tissue

When tissue from a miscarriage comes out into the toilet, here are some tips:

– Inspect the tissue – Note the color, texture, size and shape. Save any tissue passed in a container for your doctor.

– Scoop out larger chunks of tissue from the toilet water and place in a container if possible.

– If you can’t retrieve the tissue, take pictures for your doctor.

– Record details about heavy bleeding, clots and cramping to share with your provider.

– Avoid flushing large tissue down the toilet, as it may clog plumbing. Small flecks should flush down.

– Call your OBGYN or visit the ER if you pass a lot of tissue, have severe pain or bleeding.

– Make sure to collect any tissue that is caught on pads, underwear or that comes out during heavy bleeding into a jar or ziploc bag.

– Keep the tissue refrigerated or cooled until your doctor can examine it. Do not freeze tissue.

– Bring the tissue to your doctor’s office – they can confirm it for the miscarriage diagnosis. This gives you closure.

– After inspection, the doctor will dispose of the remains properly. You can ask to have it returned to you for saying goodbye.

Getting Through a Miscarriage

Having a miscarriage can be devastating, scary and isolating. Here are some tips for getting through it:

– Allow yourself to grieve – it’s normal to feel profound loss and have fluctuating emotions.

– Seek support – talk to your partner, close friends or join a support group. Counseling helps too.

– Take time to process – give yourself space for the grief without suppressing emotions.

– Remember it wasn’t your fault – miscarriages usually happen due to genetic issues in the embryo and are no one’s fault.

– Look to the future – focus on recovering physically and emotionally, and trying to conceive again when ready.

– Get any follow-up care – make sure levels return to normal and rule out retained tissue.

– Consider testing – ask your doctor about testing to identify any underlying causes, if desired.

– Be kind to yourself – take it easy physically and give yourself grace mentally.

– Reach out for help – don’t be afraid to rely on your support system through the grieving process.

– Watch for depression – if grieving lasts longer than two months or harms your daily life, seek help.

– Focus on your health – eat nourishing foods, stay hydrated and try light exercise when your doctor says it’s okay.

– Journal or create art – writing down thoughts and expressing emotions creatively can help you process the loss.

– Remember there is hope – focus on the fact that most couples can have a healthy pregnancy in the future.

The grief of miscarriage takes time and tender care to resolve. But you can find peace and hope again. Know that you are not alone – many women experience pregnancy loss but go on to have healthy children later. Reach out for any support you need during this difficult time.

When to Call the Doctor about Miscarriage

Contact your gynecologist or go to the emergency room if you have any of the following:

– Soaking more than 2 pads per hour with bleeding

– Passing large tissue fragments or gray, purple or green tissue

– Bleeding or spotting that lasts more than 2 weeks after the miscarriage

– Severe cramping and pain in your belly or back

– Fever over 100.4 F or chills

– Vaginal discharge that smells foul

– Dizziness, lightheadedness or feeling faint

– No slowing of bleeding after 2 days

– Feeling as though you are still pregnant after heavy bleeding

– Unusual pain or swelling in the abdomen

– No passed tissue when you expected to be 8-10 weeks pregnant

Getting prompt care for any of these symptoms can prevent complications like hemorrhage or dangerous infection after miscarriage. You should also follow up with your doctor within a couple weeks after passing tissue at home to ensure your uterus is emptying properly. An ultrasound and beta HCG blood tests are usually done to confirm completion of the miscarriage. Call right away for dangerously heavy bleeding or signs of infection.


Passing small bits of pregnancy tissue into the toilet is common during a miscarriage when you use the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet relaxes the pelvic floor muscles and provides a direct route for expelling tissue out of the vaginal canal. You may see small gray, brown or red flecks and clots that float in the toilet bowl or get caught on toilet paper. While larger clots and heavier bleeding often occur into pads, some tissue working its way down may end up coming out when you urinate or have bowel movements. Inspect and save any passed tissue to bring to your doctor for examination. Report any very heavy bleeding, severe pain, fever or foul smells to your doctor promptly, as you may have retained tissue or an infection. While miscarriage tissue in the toilet can be distressing to see, it is common. Take care of your mental health during this difficult time and rely on your support system as you grieve the loss. The mourning takes time, but know you can go on to heal and potentially have a successful pregnancy in the future when you are ready.

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