Missed Miscarriage – Causes, Signs and Effects

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Pregnancy is an uncertain journey; several expectant mothers experience challenges they were never prepared for. Missed miscarriage is one such experience some mothers go through. It is a pregnancy complication; therefore, it is very important every expectant mother should have a clear idea about it. This will help you to get the proper treatment for the same at the earliest. Read on to know more about missed miscarriage, its causes, signs and tips for dealing with the loss.

What is a Missed Abortion?

A missed miscarriage can be a very confusing term as it does not have any symptoms of cramping or bleeding. A missed miscarriage is also known as a silent miscarriage as it has no specific symptoms of bleeding or cramping. During this time, one could only feel mild symptoms like breast tenderness or nausea. You will only find out about the missed miscarriage when you undergo an ultrasonic scan when the absence of a foetal heartbeat confirms a missed miscarriage.

How Common Are Missed Miscarriages?

A doctor comforting her patient

Unfortunately, about 20 percent of the pregnancies can result in a miscarriage, and this is within the first three months of the pregnancy. Thus the chances of a missed miscarriage are not completely uncommon. As per the missed miscarriage statistics, chemical pregnancies (miscarriage within the 5th week of gestation) accounts for about 50 to 75 percent of all miscarriages.

Causes of a Missed Abortion

Missed abortions are mostly caused due to chromosomal abnormalities, which do not allow the development of the pregnancy. Causes of a missed abortion at 7 weeks are also similar and can be linked to developmental abnormalities in the embryo.

Signs of Missed Miscarriage

As mentioned earlier, there are no specific missed miscarriage symptoms. Normal miscarriage symptoms like vaginal bleeding, severe cramping or discharge of the foetal tissue are not present in this case. During the time of the missed miscarriage, the signs of pregnancy may continue as the placenta or corpus luteum will not have stopped releasing hormones. Some pregnant women may notice symptoms like fatigue, breast tenderness, or nausea disappearing. Diagnosis of the missed miscarriage is made by a medical practitioner by the absence of foetal heartbeat. During regular check-ups, if there is a missed abortion, an ultrasound will show the undeveloped foetus.

What Can You Do After Diagnosing a Missed Miscarriage?

After the diagnosis of the missed miscarriage, you may need to undergo treatment to expel the foetal remains. The gynaecologist would suggest one of these ways.

  • Natural Process

When you find out about the missed miscarriage, you have a few options for treatment. However, you can always wait for nature to take its course and expel the tissue naturally.

  • Medication

Medication can be used to bring about contractions in the body to expel the remaining tissue. The result of the same is very similar to heavy periods. Your doctor will prescribe you pain medication as well to help you undergo the contractions.

  • Dilation and Curettage (D&C) Procedure

When the pregnancy is older than eight to nine weeks, a D&C procedure is recommended to remove the tissue inside the womb. During the process, you will be put under general anaesthesia. This process ensures complete removal of the tissue and thereby helps prevent infection. The process is similar to the case of abortion, but in this case, it is the removal of pregnancy that is already lost.

After the process of the miscarriage, couples have to wait between one to three menstrual cycles before trying to conceive again. This is to ensure complete healing of the womb and general well-being to be ready for the next pregnancy.

Effect of Silent Miscarriage on Future Pregnancies

After a missed abortion, your doctor will keep track of your future pregnancy through early scans and follow up with any treatment that could be required. In most cases, future pregnancies are quite successful. Thus, it is advised to keep a positive mindset or undergo counselling to avoid mental stress caused by a missed miscarriage.

Tips to Deal With the Loss

Missed miscarriage can be a depressing time for anyone. The loss of a baby could lead to feelings of immense sadness and depression. But, if you wish to plan another pregnancy, it is important for you to cope. Try these tips to heal from the loss and remain positive.

  • Consult a good therapist and share your concerns, fears, worries, etc.
  • Meditate every day to relax and keep your mind calm.
  • Focus on your physical fitness; begin an exercise routine once the doctor gives the go-ahead, and follow a healthy, nutritious diet.
  • Get your mind off the past and focus on a better future.

A missed miscarriages can be a challenging time for parents. It is important that you understand that it does not mean that you cannot conceive at all. With some support and a healthy lifestyle, you can cope with the loss and also increase your chances of another pregnancy.

Also Read: How to Avoid Miscarriage