Missed abortion

A miscarriage is the loss of foetus before 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is also called silent abortion.

A missed abortion gets its name because this type of miscarriage doesn’t cause symptoms of bleeding and cramps that occur in other types of miscarriages. This can make it difficult for you to know that the loss has occurred.  

Causes of missed abortion

The causes of missed abortion are not fully known. About 50% of miscarriages happen because the embryo has the wrong number of chromosomes. Other causes can be-

  • Uterine scarring
  • Heavy smoker
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Physical trauma

If you have a missed miscarriage, your doctor most likely won’t be able to pinpoint a reason. In a missed miscarriage, the embryo simply stops developing and there’s usually no clear explanation.


It is common to have no symptoms with a missed abortion. There may be a slight brownish discharge or pregnancy symptoms like nausea, breast tenderness lessen or disappear.

How is missed abortion diagnosed?

After a diagnosis of pregnancy, a woman may not have any obvious symptoms and  missed miscarriage may be diagnosed by ultrasound before 20 weeks gestation. Usually, the doctor diagnoses it when they cannot detect a heartbeat at a prenatal checkup. In pregnancy less than 10 weeks, your doctor will check for Hcg hormone in the blood.  If the hCG level doesn’t rise at a typical rate, it’s a sign the pregnancy has ended.


Expectant management-This is a wait and watch approach. In almost 65% of the cases, missed abortion is left untreated and the embryonic tissue passes on its own. If it’s not successful,  medication or a minor procedure may be needed to pass the embryonic tissue and placenta.

Medical management- In this, you may be advised to take tablet misoprostol by your doctor which triggers the passing of remaining embryonic tissue to complete the abortion.

Surgical management-Dilation and curettage (D&C) surgery may be necessary to remove remaining tissue from the uterus. Your doctor may recommend a D&C immediately following your diagnosis of a missed miscarriage, or they may recommend it later if the tissue doesn’t pass on its own or with the use of medication.

Usually normal periods return after 4-6 weeks, physical recovery takes weeks to months and emotional recovery takes longer.

Your doctor might recommend waiting for at least three months after the miscarriage before trying to conceive again.

If you feel you have missed your periods and developed initial signs or pregnancy like nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness or fatigue which disappear abruptly, there may be strong suspect of missed abortion and you should see your doctor at the earliest.

-Dr Prerna Gaur





Pic Credits: Internet


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