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Missed Miscarriage

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A missed miscarriage, also known as a missed abortion or a silent miscarriage, occurs when a fetus dies, but the body does not recognize the pregnancy loss or expel the pregnancy tissue. As a result, the placenta may still continue to release hormones, so the woman may continue to experience signs of pregnancy.

A missed miscarriage is usually diagnosed during a routine checkup, where the doctor will fail to detect a heartbeat. A subsequent ultrasound will show an underdeveloped fetus.

Signs of Missed Miscarriage

A missed miscarriage is often known as a silent miscarriage because women generally do not have common miscarriage symptoms, such as vaginal bleeding, heavy cramping, or expulsion of fetal tissue. With a missed miscarriage, the placenta may still release hormones, which can continue the signs of pregnancy for women. However, some women may notice that their pregnancy symptoms, like breast tenderness, nausea, or fatigue, may disappear. Some may also have brownish or red vaginal discharge. Doctors can diagnose missed miscarriages by lack of a fetal heartbeat and an ultrasound that will show an underdeveloped fetus.

Rates of Missed Miscarriage

Approximately one percent of all pregnancies will result in a missed miscarriage. Around 20 percent of pregnancies will result in miscarriage.

Missed Miscarriage Causes

Most missed miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, which do not allow the pregnancy to develop.

Treatment for Missed Miscarriage

If a missed miscarriage has occurred early in pregnancy, a woman will usually be able to expel the pregnancy tissue naturally. However, if the fetal tissue remains in the body for a longer time, a D&C procedure is usually recommended. In this procedure, the cervix is opened and the contents of pregnancy are removed. This can cut down on infections, which may occur if the fetal tissue remains in the body.

After a missed miscarriage, couples are encouraged to wait between one to three menstrual cycles before trying to conceive again.

If you have had more than one miscarriage, a consultation with a fertility doctor may be advisable. FertilityAuthority.com has a database of reproductive endocrinologists. To find one near you, type in your zip code in the “Find a Doctor” or “Find a Clinic” search on our website.

Read more about causes of miscarriage here.

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Comments (122)

Im very nervous. I am 26. I have 2 healthy boys from my first relationship. Now in this relationship I had a miscarriage feb. 2013. dr said it was so early if I hadn't taken a test I wouldnt have even known I was pregnant. then I jus a miscarriage dec 2013. a very bad miscarriage. I had to have 2 pints of blood from so much blood lose and was in the hospital for 2 days. now I had a postive pregnancy test yesterday. im so scared of having another miscarriage.

I don't blame you for being nervous - it's very natural. Did the doctor determine why you miscarried in Dec? Any advice on your next pregnancy? I would also encourage you to talk with a counselor or a support group (online or in person) to help you manage your anxiety. Best, Claire

Had a scan at 8weeks to find that my baby's heartbeat had stopped,gutted to say the least lost confused and heartbroken as we went through ivf.now panicking about what's ahead of me.

I'm so so sorry. I encourage you (and your partner) to find someone to talk with about your loss - the nurse at your fertility practice, a counselor, a support group (online or in person). You should meet with your fertility doctor to see if they can determine the cause of the miscarriage and what your next steps should be. I wish you all the best, Claire

hi i have got 7 yrs old son.healthy preg.but after that i had 3 missed m/c in the week of 8 every time.all the test are normal.only waiting for chromosome study.but i had a boy with same partner.so my chromosome will be same as 7 yrs ago.so why i got these m/c three times pls

I am so, so sorry for your losses. Although you had a son seven years ago, it may be that your egg quality has declined since that time. Once you get the results, you should consider seeing a doctor who has experience with multiple miscarriages. Let me know if I can help. Best, Claire

thank you for your support.if the quality of the egg down ar declined is there any other options for me to carry a healthy pregnency

You should get your FSH and AMH and levels tested and then you'll have some good information to determine your options. Best, Claire

I found out yesterday at my 12 week scan that my baby died at 9w 4d.I'm devastated .I'm booked for a d&c on Tuesday.not sure I will ever try again.

I'm so, so sorry for your loss. I encourage to talk to a therapist (your doctor can probably recommend someone) or find support online. FertileThoughts.com is a wonderful online community and there are women there who have been in your situation. I wish you all the best. Claire

I took some medications for my flu before I knew I was pregnant. On Jan. 6, 2014, I took abortion pills but didn't bleed so on Jan.13, 2014 I went to have an ultrasound and it showed I was still pregnant at 5 weeks and 6 days but no heartbeat of the fetus. The OB/GYN thought that missed m/c was possible. She advised me to have come back on Jan. 25, 2014 to check if the fetus will have heartbeat at 7 weeks and 4 days. I'm afraid that if the fetus will have heartbeat there'll be possible defects when pregnancy will be continued and I would feel sorry for the baby if he/she will grow up with defects. I'm worried to have D&C because it's expensive. I need advise. Thanks

Please, please talk to your doctor. Only he or she can advise you on your current situation. I wish you all the best, Claire.

I have had 3 missed miss carriages I have no children.. me and my partner went for tests all was fine im now 7wks 2days pregnant had a scan last week seen babys heartbeat.. but my mornin sickness suddenly stopped tday can this be normal? Im really worryin maself silly and I no I shouldnt.. can symtoms come and go?

I'm so sorry for your losses - it's no wonder you are worrying about this pregnancy. You should really call your doctor's office and talk to them. In addition, you may want to talk to other women in our forums at fertilethoughts.com. I know there are other women in the same situation who can offer you their thoughts and advice. I wish you all the best. Claire

- hI mY name is arianna and I was 7w3d . I started spotting on 1/9/14 and went to the emergency room at 9pm to 4am did a ultrasound and the inside one too but there was still 17 more people in front of me and my husband just insisted that we go home so we did the next morning my husband & I got into a argument then I started having brownish discharge so I started to worry I called him at work and he was his way to pick me I started bleeding dark red blood and then we rushed to the emergency room got there at 12pm and they did the first ultrasound and they send they were sending me to a different department of the hospital it started to worry me so i got my blood drawn and waited then then finally called me to the second ultrasound around 3:30 and I was still stopping just not as much then after they were done with the ultrasound then sent me to the room and then the doctor came in a said " there is a baby but not heart beat " he said my hormone level was where It was supposed to be . And I was really confused he did a cervix exam and said it was open and then I went home and I didn't bleed for 2 days and I passed a little tissue but is there anyway that this can be mis diagnosed ? i still have a little hope . Id really appreciate the advice . Thank you

You really should have a blood pregnancy test and a physical exam in order to get the correct diagnosis. I wish you all the best, Claire

I went for my scan at 9w2d. I have a. 9 yr old and 2 year old- no past miscarriages. They said the baby did not have a heart beat and scheduled me for a D&C. I am in a Facebook pregnancy group and people were telling me of other situations where they were just not that far.. Ect. I did a lot of research and my dr should have sent me for more blood work or a follow up scan. I felt very betrayed that he told me there was 0 chance of it getting better and scheduling me for the procedure. I canceled my appointment and am looking for a new doctor! I haven't had any cramping bleeding or spotting. I took another preg test and it was still saying 3+ weeks so my hcg hasn't dropped the way I thought it would have. I'm praying they missed it because I have a tipped uterus.

Hi I saw your post from January 12 and I was wondering how everything turned out for you. I too have a retroverted uterus and was told yesterday by the e.r. doctor and my ob/gyn that I'm having a missed abortion but have experienced np cramping and very little bleeding. If you could give me any information on what to expect it would mean the world to me. Thank you.

Hi Hun; I had a missed m/c on Sep 25. I was at my 3mth scan. The babies heartbeat had stopped. They said around 11w3d. I saw my doc the next day and did a follow up scan. I insisted. Same result. The next day I went to hospital and had D&C. Then I had to have another one in Oct as there was still product left inside. I have waited 2 cycles as they suggested and I'm preg. First cycle back trying. They say that after a d&c that your all cleaned out and it's easy to fall again quickly & I'm 37. I have one 6yr old. Thought you just might like to hear my story. Oh and I would always go for the d&c option. But that's me. Get a second scan though to make 200% sure the baby has died. X

I feel so sorry when i read all this sad stories. My story is ectopic in august 2012., which ended with a surgery and left fallopian tube removed, then stillbirth at 38 weeks in august 2013. due to the placental abbruption, and now i am facing missed miscarriage. Just found out today after having brown discharge for a few days. Apparently, baby didnt grow much since the last scan (which was almost 3 weeks ago, baby was then 5+5 weeks and 3.7 mm in length and now is 5.5 mm and no heartbeat). I was told that they need to do another scan in 10 days, as reassurance, and that i might expect cramping and bleeding. If i feel really bad then i should go to ER. If i dont expel fetal tissue then i will be sent for D&C. It seems bit risky to me, to wait that long, but that is the procedure. I kind of lost hope now that i can have normal pregnancy. I am bit worried now, i dont know what to expect in next few days. Is there any advice?

I am so, so sorry for your losses. On our sister site, fertilethoughts.com, there are many women who have experienced similar losses, and would be happy to offer you support and information. When you are ready to try to get pregnant again, I would recommend seeing a specialist. Please let me know if you would like more information. Best, Claire

I have had 2 missed miscarriages I had my last one 5 months ago I am now pregnant again I am 8 weeks and last week ive stared spotting again I had an ultrasound and everything is ok but im still spotting im freken out

It's understandable that you are stressing out. You should check out the forums on www.FertileThoughts.com. There are a lot of women there in similar situations that can offer you support. I wish you all the best. Claire

I should be 13weeks gone, but started spotting 3dys ago. 1stly, brownish, then pinkish; now bleeding clots. I've had a miscarriage about 5months ago, and had it expelled via d&c which was very painful. Just want to know natural ways of expelling it. Thanks!

I'm so sorry for your losses. You should talk to your doctor about this. You may also want to talk to a doctor about why you are miscarrying. If you need any information, please contact our Patient Care Advocates at 855-955-2229 or carecoordinator@fertilityauthority.com. Wishing you the best, Claire

hi,am so worried,,i got pregnant 3mnths ago,bu but at 11th week i came to know that my baby is 6 week with no heart beat and doc suggest me DNC,,plzz let me know should i wait further ,is it possible that my baby's growth ll be started or i should go for abortion?

I am so sorry. I would go on your doctor's recommendation. I would follow up with him or her. Best, Claire

Just went for my third scan. Was told the sac is empty again but no fibroid found which was seen from the second scan. I am not sure if I should go for another scan or to just go for an evacuation. Am scared of the evacuation I really don't mind to go natural. Should be 13weeks today. I need advice on how to go natural instead of evacuation. So worried

Hi, I'm sorry for everyone's loss. I had a great cramps and been scan for hb of my embryo at 6weeks pregnancy. I'm 30 y/o, no child. I had found that I have a missed /c after 2weeks. Still at state of shock. Just want to know what will be the best procedure on removing the embryo, both procedure might be painful but I have a continous abdominal and back pain. Is it possible that spontaneous abortion may occur soon? Hoping for each and everyone's right time.

Always get a D&C. If you wait you may get an infection. It's not pleasant but it's fast.

I am so sorry for your loss. Please talk to your gynecologist about your concerns and ask the doctor your questions as well. All the best, Claire

I have had two missed miscarriages back to back and have no children. The last miscarriage they said was triplets. Both were at 6 weeks and I found out at abt 9 weeks on a scan. I'm 5 wks 5 days pregnant again and at my doctor visit yesterday they didn't offer a scan or check any hcg or progesterone. hey said to come back in 4 weeks for a dating scan. I have had testing done after the last miscarriage and they can't find anything wrong with me but doesn't it seem like they should monitor it a little closer. they acted like I was paranoid when I asked for a thyroid test. What should I do?

I'm so sorry for your loss. There are a number of things that can cause a miscarriage - hopefully your doctor will have some answers for you, including those related to your thyroid issue. Best, Claire

Hi I had a missed carriage at 11 weeks 6 days. I went thru ivf treatment me and my husband struggled to get pg for 10 year's it been hard to over come it. I'm 35 years old and I have a thyroid problem I am on medication. Do you think that could have been the problem. I wonder what I did wrong I so wanted my baby. I go see the doctor next week. I wouldn't want to go thru this again. Do u think this would happen every time I would get pregnant cause of my thyroid problem. Thanks hope u can answer my ?

Thyroid problems carries a high risk of miscarriages. However you can have thyroid issues and still have a healthy pregnancy, I did. Best of luck to you!!

If you are trying to get pregnant, you really should see a fertility doctor in your area. Please reply here or call at 855-955-2229 if you would like more information. Best, Claire

Hey i was wondering if you can help me out i been bleeding these pass 2 days not heavy bleeding just spotting and ii want to know if im in danqer of a miss carraiqe ? Im really scared and ii want to know what i can do about that ?

Hi Lizeth, Some bleeding in early pregnancy is common, but you should definitely call your OBGYN to be sure. Best of luck! Kim

hi, everyone. sorry for all of your losses. I just found out monday tht my baby had no heartbeat at my twelve week check up. i had to go back nxt day to my dr. she told baby stop growin at ten wks. ibhav a d and c seheduled for toma. two yrs ago i had an abortion, i thnk tht was my biggest mistake. could it be a connection wit my now missed miscarriage?

Hi Nikki, I am so sorry for your loss. Miscarriages are most often caused by a chromosomal abnormality in the embryo. It likely doesn't have anything to do with the abortion. You should consult your OB-GYN or a fertility doctor to address your concerns. Best, Kim

I have just had a missed miscarriage and it has been 2.5 weeks since the baby stopped growing. How long should I wait to have a D & C? I have seen 2 different OBs and one said no longer than 2 weeks to prevent infection and the other said 4 weeks.

Hi Audrey, I have often heard of doctors advising a patient to wait two weeks before undergoing a D & C. In this instance, I think it is up to you to do what you feel most comfortable with. Best of luck! Kim

I have a miscarriage in second month of pregnancy... Doctor said its due to less fetus growth. When i can try for next pls suggest and how we we come to know our fetus is growing or not in initial 1-2 months

Hi bits, If you have a history of miscarriage, it is important to work closely with a fertility doctor or your OB-GYN for monitoring in early pregnancy. Unfortunately, if it is due to chromosomal abnormalities, then only a fertility doctor can help you address that issue. If there is some other issue causing the miscarriage, the OB-GYN may be able to monitor you. Most miscarriages are the result of an unhealthy pregnancy and are not preventable, but monitoring may be able to help you address any issues or figure out the problem sooner. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) or email carecoordinator@fertilityauthority.com Best, Kim

Hi lorraine, You certainly may be able to get pregnant and carry a child to term. However, at 42, I would recommend working with a fertility doctor. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) or email carecoordinator@fertilityauthority.com Best, Kim

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