Missed Miscarriage: Factors and Symptoms to Be Aware of

Unfortunately, a woman of any age can face the problem called a missed miscarriage. There are numerous factors and circumstances that can lead to this phenomenon. Taking care of your body during the conception period and strict adherence to the recommendations of the leading specialist during the gestation period can help prevent this pathology. Still, it is very important to be aware of missed miscarriage issues.

What is a Missed Miscarriage?

Missed miscarriage is an intrauterine fetal death that occurred on the gestation period of up to 20 weeks. Since the dead fetus is rejected sooner or later, the inevitable consequence of a missed miscarriage is a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion.

This pathology is not so frequent. However, it is not so rare to believe that it can never touch you. The probability of missed miscarriage as compared to a normal pregnancy is about 1 to 170. Therefore, it is important for a pregnant woman to monitor her condition and know well how missed miscarriage manifests itself in order to recognize the symptoms of the disease in time. Keep in mind that the pathology is fraught with serious complications for the woman’s health.

Missed miscarriage is an incorrect course of pregnancy, resulting in the fetus stopping to develop and grow. The result of this process is intrauterine fetal death. This can occur at any time of pregnancy, but most often it takes place in the first trimester. Fetal death causes inflammation of the female body and complications of a different nature.

The main danger of missed miscarriage is that the deceased fetus may begin to decompose. As a result, the infection spreads inside the body.

Of course, the woman’s body tries to tear away the deceased embryo. But this process is not instantaneous. Usually, it takes 2-2.5 weeks, after which miscarriage occurs. However, this does not always happen. In this case, one has to resort to medical procedures for removing the fetus.

The Statistics

Statistics show that missed miscarriage occurs most often in the first trimester. The most dangerous is 8 weeks term, during which the laying of the main organs of the embryo takes place. Also, the peaks of the probability of the occurrence of pathology are observed at 3-4, 9-11, and 16-18 weeks. The probability of fetal death at later periods is much lower. Nevertheless, the pregnancy, which stopped at the 9th month, is not an incredible event and, unfortunately, can happen.


What Factors Cause Missed Miscarriage?

The main reasons provoking missed miscarriage include:

  • Diseases of viral and infectious origin in pregnant women
  • Rhesus-conflict
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Pathologies of the uterus, congenital or acquired
  • Previous abortions
  • Violation of the hormonal background
  • Non-observance of the balance in the diet
  • The use of harmful products
  • Abuse of medicines
  • Stress
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Harmful working conditions
  • IVF or artificial insemination

Pathology of this kind can be provoked by the presence of acute infectious diseases and bad habits. The broken hormonal background of the future mother is able to disrupt the genetic background of the embryo. This is facilitated by the use of alcohol, drugs, and smoking. Among infectious diseases that contribute to the emergence of missed miscarriages, there may be such common infections as influenza, ARD, rubella. Toxoplasmosis and sexually transmitted diseases are also dangerous: chlamydia, trichomoniasis, mycoplasmosis, and others.

Other Reasons

In a woman with identified infectious diseases such as herpes, the probability of missed miscarriage increases several times. If a woman wishes to give birth to a strong healthy child, all these causes should be eliminated before conception.

The genetic anomaly can also lead to the death of the embryo in the early stages. This is due to a genetic disorder that makes the fetus nonviable. With the absolute health of both partners, the repetition of this phenomenon is excluded. However, subsequently missed miscarriage indicates a serious genetic disorder.

When a missed miscarriage is caused by a genetic disorder, one can speak of a lack of certain hormones involved in the process of fixing the embryo.

In some cases, there is a so-called Rh-conflict. It occurs when the fetus has a positive Rh factor in the blood, and the mother has a negative Rh factor. As a result, the mother’s body produces antibodies, which causes oxygen starvation of the fetus.

Violation of blood clotting in the mother’s body can also lead to the death of the embryo. The consequence of this syndrome is the appearance of thrombi in the vessels of the placenta and a violation of the supply of blood to the fetus.

In addition, statistics show that within Vitro fertilization missed miscarriage occurs more frequently than with natural pregnancy. In women, giving birth after 35 years, pathology is also more common than in young women.

How to Recognize Missed Miscarriage?

Many pregnant women are concerned about how to determine missed miscarriage. The insidiousness of this condition lies in the fact that it often proceeds asymptomatically. It can take several days and sometimes several weeks from the death of the fetus to miscarriage.

What are the first signs of missed miscarriage? You may suspect that the pregnancy is no longer developing if you have the following symptoms:

  • Spotting/discharge (red, pink, brown) from the vagina
  • Pains in the back or lower abdomen
  • The symptoms of toxicosis (nausea, vomiting, dizziness, etc.) suddenly stopped
  • Breast with a dead pregnancy can stop aching
  • Body temperature with missed miscarriage usually remains within normal limits, but with inflammatory processes it can rise to 37.5C ​​and higher

The above signs of missed miscarriage are not reliable and can occur with a normally developing pregnancy, as well as with ectopic pregnancy. Therefore, if you have the abovementioned warning signs, you need to see a doctor and go through the examination to determine the diagnosis. The diagnosis of missed miscarriage is never made only by the presence of the symptoms listed above.

What to do if Symptoms of Missed Miscarriage are Found?

If you suspect missed miscarriage and see the characteristic signs, then do not wait. You should see a doctor right away.

In case of severe fever, consult a doctor immediately! This may indicate an extensive stage of pathology. Delay in this case is fraught with sepsis and death!

Diagnosing of missed miscarriage can be made by using ultrasound and laboratory blood tests. The gynecologist’s examination is also important. It can show if the size of the uterus has changed. The ultrasound can determine if there is a fetal heartbeat and whether the fetus size corresponds to the term of pregnancy. Laboratory studies provide information on the level of hormones, primarily chorionic gonadotropin.

The actions of doctors in case of missed miscarriage mostly depend on the period at which it was discovered. There are three main approaches:

  • Spontaneous Miscarriage: In many cases, it occurs on its own, due to a decrease in the level of hormones. If there is a possibility that the miscarriage will occur in a few days itself, then it is preferable to wait for it, and not to use medicines.
  • Medical Abortion: The method is applied in case the pregnancy lasts no more than 8 weeks.
  • Surgical Removal of the Fetus: This is the cleaning of the uterine cavity. This operation should be carried out in a hospital.

In any case, after the termination of pregnancy, antibacterial therapy is prescribed. In addition, preparations for contraception, vitamin complexes, antibiotics, drugs that increase immunity may be prescribed as well. These measures serve to prevent diseases.

A missed miscarriage, as a rule, does not have very serious consequences. In most cases, with proper therapy, the next pregnancy is possible in 3-6 months. Acquired infertility after missed miscarriage develops rarely, only in 1 out of 10 cases.


Diagnosis of Missed Miscarriage

Inspection at the gynecologist:

  • Inconsistency of the size of the uterus during pregnancy (the uterus is less in size than the expected gestation period)

Ultrasound – an ultrasound examination of the small pelvis:

  • Absence of heartbeat of the fetus
  • Anembryonic gestation (an empty fetal egg, without an embryo)

Hormonal blood test:

  • Stopping of the progressive increase in the figures of the pregnancy hormone, hCG (chorionic gonadotropin), characteristic of normal pregnancy


The future mother should avoid the influence of all the negative factors that provoke the appearance of pathology. During pregnancy, it is necessary to refrain from drinking alcohol, to reduce the level of stress and physical tension, especially lifting weights. It is also important to follow a right and balanced diet. You should wear loose clothing that does not squeeze the lower abdomen.