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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)

Hi there, Unfortunately, there isn't a lot you can do. Miscarriage is just one of those things that happens even if the pregnancy seems healthy up to that point. Unless you have an autoimmune disease or hormonal imbalance that would cause you to miscarry (like thyroid disease), if the baby stops growing or the heart stops beating, that is just usually something that can't be treated. I'm so sorry for your loss and hope you are successful soon. Kim

I was wondering if you could give me some advice. My little sister was diagnosed at a very young age with 2 uterus's and endometriosis. She had to have some reconstructive surgery so that both could be connected to one cervix etc. Her doctors told her she could potentially get pregnant in both. I was just diagnosed with protein S deficiency as well as lupus anticoagulant. I had to be on lovenox shots 2 times a day while pregnant with my twins. (I have had a DVT as well as a PE after my 2nd child). My sister has just suffered her 3rd miscarriage. her doctors suspect it is due to blood flow since she has 2 uterus's but since I have been diagnosed with this blood disorder I think she should be checked. All three have been missed miscarriages as well...so she has had to have a D&C each time. I have offered to surrogate for her although my doctors are fighting with me b/c of my condition. Any advice you can give would be appreciated!

I definitely think your sister should be tested. Is she working with a fertility doctor or OB-GYN? She can call us at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) to connect with a trusted fertility doctor in her area. Best, Kim

I am 23 and have not met with fertility doctor. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to however my doctor still hasn't found any reason as to why this is happening. Thank you for reaching out.

You can contact me by calling 1-855-955-BABY (2229) and we can connect you with a fertility doctor who WILL help you figure out why you're not getting pregnant. Thinking of you! Kim

I have had 2 missed or "silent" miscarriages, back to back. I have one child, 5, very healthy and we don't know Why this keeps happening! Because of he fact that this is the second time, it decreases my chances of having successful pregnancy in the future. Once my hormones get back to normal the doctor has set up some tests for my my fiance and I, to check hat it's not a genetic thing. We have son together so I don't see that being it. Through out both pregnancies I was really stressed at work, which could be contributing factor.

I knw hw u feel my dear.it happend to me too twice.i also hv a 5year old heathy baby n I wonder wht could b da cause of my missed miscariages

I had a missed miscarriage at 15 wks and have still not expelled the fetus does anyone know anything about this? It's been almost a month

Im in the same situation currently. The waiting is killing me. According to the doctor, my baby stopped growind at 6w. That was on June 9th they told me that; which according to them I should have been 8w3d. Its been almost a minth since that appt. HCG levels still increasing but not doubling, no cramping or bleeding. im now almost 10w (according to my calculations and a 2nd U/S performed that same day by my GYN. Help me understand. Somebody PLEASE!

Hi Alise, I just found out yesterday that I am having a missed m/c again, my 2nd and back to back. I have no children, and docs wont test me until i've had more then 3 miscarriages, which i think is disgusting. im here if u need to talk, i know what ur going through. Keep strong xxx

Hi Molly, two weeks ago I had my third missed miscarriage, all back to back, and all the blood work that came back was normal, I'm losing my mind trying to understand why, even starting to wonder if it's my husbands smoking that's doing this, was wondering if u found a reason why it happened to u, if so please share. Maybe u'd shed some light for the rest of us....

Hi , I just letting you know I have had 7 miscarriages and a missed miscarriages now. After lots of testing Dr. Still doesn't know what have caused the miscarriages. I do have 4 healthy chidren which came from my 5-8 pregnancies. Hang in there with faith all is possible.

Hi Molly, Are you working with a fertility doctor (reproductive endocrinologist)? They can diagnose and treat recurrent pregnancy loss. Email us at carecoordinator@fertilityauthority.com and we can help you connect with a miscarriage expert in your area. Best, Kim

I have two healthy girls. My youngest is 2 1/2. We got pregnant last fall and miscarried at 8 weeks naturally. I got pregnant really quickly and carried that baby to 11 weeks 2 days, when we found out that there was no hb. I am pregnant again and just hit 13 weeks. I am starting to feel movement which eases my mind a great deal. I don't think that 2 back to back miscairrages effects your chances of a healthy pregnancy significantly because you have had one life birth. Google "Miscarriage Calculator". This put my mind a ease as we tried for another one.

Hi alise,

Miscarriages can be caused by a number of things. How old are you? Women tend to have a greater risk of miscarriage as they age. Are you working with a fertility doctor? Give us a call at 855-955-2229 if you'd like some more information on fertility doctors in your area.

Kim, thank you for reaching out. I am 23 and haven't gone that route just yet. So far, my doctor cannot tell me why this is happening or what I can do to prevent his from continuing. So we are just holding off on trying for a baby for now.

I had a missed miscarriage at 16 week and since 3 months now I was on able to get pregnant again , I have been worried if something is wrong with me or not pls I need a help.

Hi I had a missed miscarriage at 8 weeks,about 4 months ago. I have really heavy and clotty periods . I'm now pregnant again I'm terrified I'l have another miscarriage ,can I be tested for blood clotting disorder my nurse says no but I'm worried that's what killed my first baby ?

Kerry - you should consult with a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor so that you can be properly monitored especially given your history and since you're having concerns. I think it would be best to seek a second opinion.

If the nurse said no, ask the doctor. If the doctor says no, find a different one, who will do what needs to be fine and do everything to reassure you and to save your pregnancy.

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