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A missed miscarriage, also known as a silent miscarriage, is a type of miscarriage that occurs when a pregnancy ends naturally, but the body does not expel the fetal tissue. This can happen without any visible signs or symptoms of a miscarriage, making it difficult to detect. A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week and can happen for various reasons, such as genetic abnormalities, hormonal imbalances, or health problems.
How can I not know I’m having a Missed Miscarriage?
In some cases, a missed miscarriage can occur without any noticeable symptoms. The body may not recognize that the pregnancy has ended, and the fetal tissue remains in the uterus. This is why it’s important to attend all scheduled prenatal appointments and have routine ultrasounds to monitor the development of the fetus.
What are the causes?
When a missed miscarriage occurs, the fertilized egg successfully implants in the uterus and the pregnancy begins as expected. However, sometime during the first trimester, typically between 6 to 10 weeks, the embryo stops developing and the heartbeat ceases.
Although the reason for the pregnancy’s failure to progress cannot always be determined, the most frequent explanation is a chromosomal abnormality that makes the fetus incompatible with life. Additionally, the embryo may not have developed and left behind an empty pregnancy sac (known as an anembryonic pregnancy) or started to grow but then ceased for unknown reasons.
Signs and Symptoms of a Miscarriage / Missed Miscarriage
The symptoms of a miscarriage may include vaginal bleeding, cramping, and the passing of fetal tissue. However, in the case of a missed miscarriage, there may be no symptoms at all. The absence of typical pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea or breast tenderness, can also be a sign that a missed miscarriage has occurred.
How could I not know?
While many miscarriages begin with symptoms of pain and bleeding, there are often no such signs of a missed miscarriage. Pregnancy hormones may continue to be high for some time after the baby has died, so you may continue to feel pregnant, and a pregnancy test may well still show positive.
In the first few weeks of the second trimester, it may be too early to feel the baby kick, so without any bleeding or pain, you are likely to assume all is well.
Generally, there may be no way you can know without having an ultrasound scan.
Having an Ultrasound Scan
An ultrasound scan is a common method used to confirm a missed miscarriage. During the scan, the doctor will look for signs of fetal development, such as a heartbeat, which is typically present by 6-7 weeks of pregnancy. In the case of a missed miscarriage, the ultrasound may show that the fetus has not developed as expected or that there is no heartbeat.
How is it treated?
Treatment for a missed miscarriage can vary depending on the individual circumstances. In some cases, the body may expel the fetal tissue naturally, but medical intervention may be necessary in other cases. This can include medication to help expel the tissue or a surgical procedure, such as a dilation and curettage (D&C), to remove it. Counselling and emotional support may also be recommended to help cope with the loss.
In summary, a missed miscarriage can be a challenging and emotionally taxing experience. It’s important to attend all prenatal appointments and communicate any concerns or changes in symptoms to a healthcare provider. If you suspect a missed miscarriage, seeking medical attention promptly can help ensure the best possible outcome. Remember to take care of yourself physically and emotionally during this time, and seek support from loved ones or a healthcare professional if needed.