Missed Miscarriage

Like a blighted ovum or recurrent miscarriage, missed miscarriage is a form of miscarriage that can also be a devastating loss for pregnant women. However, because signs of a missed miscarriage can be ambiguous, many women are unaware of the fact that their pregnancy has been terminated; and what’s worse is that many mistake the symptoms of a missed miscarriage for pregnancy symptoms. That is why it is important for all pregnant women to be aware of what exactly a missed miscarriage is, and how can having one affect their future pregnancies.

What is A Missed Miscarriage?

A missed miscarriage is a miscarriage in which the body does not expel the various elements of a terminated pregnancy, such as the fetus and placenta, for a period of many weeks – despite the fact that the fetus has died. Because of this, women will often not be aware that a miscarriage has occurred.

This type of miscarriage is also referred to as a missed abortion or a silent pregnancy.

Four-fifths of miscarriages occur during the first twelve weeks (first trimester) of pregnancy, although they can occur beyond this date – this is called a late missed miscarriage.

What Causes a Missed Miscarriage?

The exact cause of a missed miscarriage is unknown. However, about half of all early miscarriages occur due to a genetic problem with either the egg or sperm.

In addition, other factors such as immune system problems and serious infections can increase the risk of miscarriage. The chance of having a miscarriage also increases with age, because of the natural deterioration of egg quality.

About one percent of all pregnancies end in a missed miscarriage.

Signs of A Missed Miscarriage

Some symptoms of this type of miscarriage include:

  • a reduction or loss of pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue, nausea and breast tenderness
  • absence of fetal heart tones on ultrasound
  • vaginal discharge that is first brown in color and then becomes bright red blood

However, symptoms of a missed miscarriage can be confusing. Sometimes, a woman experiencing a missed miscarriage will continue to experience pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue and nausea. This is due to the fact that placental tissue continues to release pregnancy hormones, even after a miscarriage has occurred. This can also result in a positive pregnancy test.

Also, discharge does not always occur immediately, making it difficult to discern whether the pregnancy has terminated.


An ultrasound diagnosis can determine whether a miscarriage has taken place.

If no heartbeat is detected, it is often the case that the pregnancy has terminated.


After it has been determined that a miscarriage has taken place, a doctor will usually recommend an operation be performed in order to remove any remnants of the pregnancy. This is usually done within a few days of the diagnosis in order to prevent infection.

The Effects of A Missed Miscarriage on Future Pregnancies

Experiencing a missed miscarriage does not significantly reduce a woman’s future chances of getting pregnant.

For example, if a woman had one miscarriage, she will have a one percent lower chance (about 80%) of having a successful pregnancy in the future than a woman who has not had a previous miscarriage.

However, if a woman has had two miscarriages, her chance of having a subsequent successful pregnancy is reduced to 72%.

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