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
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%.