Of course, if you are bleeding and cramping and you are worried at all, seeing your doctor or midwife is the best course of action. But spotting or bleeding, along with cramping, does not always indicate the start of a miscarriage. There are other, benign, causes of spotting and cramping that should not worry you at all. One of the most common causes of spotting during the first trimester is sexual intercourse. Because your cervix is going through a lot of changes, and is very sensitive at this time. It is not unusual for you to experience some bleeding following intercourse, because your cervix is irritated. This type of bleeding should occur immediately following intercourse, and should not be more than a minimal amount of blood. It should last only for a brief amount of time, and should not cause more than very minor discomfort.
If your bleeding and cramping signifies the start of a miscarriage, it will be a lot more than a little spotting. It might start start out like that, but will soon increase in volume, and you will notice a pattern of cramping that is not unlike labor. Also, there will be clots in the bleeding. Sadly, the vast majority of miscarriages cannot be prevented, or stopped once you start bleeding. A miscarriage of often nature's way of disposing of a fetus who had already passed, or was not developing properly. Ectopic pregnancies, where a fertilized egg implants itself into your fallopian tubes, is a very serious condition that puts you at risk of tube rupture, and requires immediate medical attention. Ectopic pregnancies have very obvious symptoms including sharp pains, vaginal bleeding, and low hCG levels. If you suspect that you have an ectopic pregnancy, contacting your doctor right away is crucial, and can prevent complications.