Missed Miscarriage

A missed miscarriage can be devastating for pregnant women.  Due to the fact that the signs of a missed miscarriage can be ambiguous, many women are unaware that their pregnancy has ended. A missed miscarriage or spontaneous abortion is when you are pregnant and the fetus dies. During a missed miscarriage, the body still thinks the fetus is still viable and continues to produce pregnancy hormones. A diagnosis of this kind is given after an ultrasound has revealed no fetal heart tones or the fetus has stopped growing. Usually, there will be a second ultrasound to confirm the status of the fetus. Usually the fetus has stopped growing weeks before the initial ultrasound.  HCG blood tests can be performed to detect a drop in the hormone level, but is not a definitive answer; therefore taking a pregnancy test to see if you are still pregnant won’t give you the answers that you seek. If a woman suspects she has had a miscarriage and takes a pregnancy test, it will still show up positive since the placenta still produces the pregnancy hormone HCG.

The signs and symptoms of a missed miscarriage are usually minimal if any at all. There are women who may experience dark brown spotting and later red spotting, but this is not a definitive sign. Some women start to say they just don’t “feel” pregnant anymore and have lost the symptoms of nausea, breast tenderness and fatigue. Most miscarriages occur during the first trimester which is the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. During this time, the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality. There was a chromosomal abnormality due to a faulty egg or sperm cell, or are due to a problem at the time that the zygote went through the division process. Other reasons could include drug or excessive caffeine use, maternal trauma, or maternal age.

One it has been determined that a woman has had a missed miscarriage, the doctor will discuss the plan of care on how to expel the parts and/or sac. Whatever care that is decided usually happens within the next few days in order to prevent infection. A doctor will usually recommend an operation called a D & C (dilation and curettage) to be performed in order to remove any remnants of the pregnancy. Also there are medications like Cytotec that a woman can take in order to dilate and soften the cervix in order to induce a miscarriage.

Having a miscarriage will not necessarily reduce a woman’s chances of conceiving again. Unfortunately, miscarriage can affect anyone. Women are often left with unanswered questions and feel that they could have done something to prevent this. There is not much that can be done about chromosomal abnormalities; however you should try to be healthy as you can before conceiving to provide a healthy atmosphere for conception to occur. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, manage your stress levels, take folic acid, and of course do not smoke.

 

References

American Pregnancy Association. Miscarriage. (2011). Retrieved from: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/miscarriage.html

Women’s health Information & More. Missed Miscarriage. (2010). Retrieved from: http://www.womens-health.co.uk/miscarriage/missed.html

 

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