Symptoms of a Missed Miscarriage

Worrying When You Don't Have Symptoms of Pregnancy or Miscarriage

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Early in pregnancy, you may be worried that you could have had a miscarriage and just not know it yet. You may also face the startling diagnosis of a miscarriage when you have had no signs there was something wrong. A missed miscarriage or silent miscarriage is one that has no clear symptoms of miscarriage such as vaginal bleeding, cramping, or passage of tissue through the vagina.

Symptoms of a Missed Miscarriage

Unfortunately, by its very definition, a missed miscarriage usually means there are no symptoms before diagnosis. You may have had some minor spotting, but this can be absent.

In some cases of missed miscarriage, pregnancy symptoms continue. Although the pregnancy is not viable, the placenta may still be producing hormones and you may still have breast tenderness, morning sickness, and fatigue.

Some women may notice a loss of pregnancy symptoms, but this is an unreliable sign of miscarriage. Loss of pregnancy symptoms can also occur in normal pregnancies, especially in the later part of the first trimester when morning sickness and fatigue often begin to resolve.

To be simply "not feeling pregnant" should not be a cause for alarm. Even if you have had prior pregnancies, each one will be different. You won't experience the same symptoms at the same time for each pregnancy. You also can't compare your symptoms to those of your friends, your mother, or sisters.

Fears of a Missed Miscarriage 

If this is your first pregnancy, especially if you have been eager to have a child, you may be sensitive to any fear that you might have a miscarriage. Your friends and family may inadvertently feed into this stress and worry.

Pregnancy can also result in mood swings, as your hormones are in flux. You may find yourself worrying about a lack of symptoms, let alone worrying about actual symptoms. It can become a negative feedback loop, a spiral of fear over what you are feeling and what you aren't feeling.

If you are distressed and need reassurance, call your health care provider and discuss it with him or her on the phone. You may be brought in for a check-up to help reassure you that you don't have a missed miscarriage. 

Once you have visited your doctor and been reassured that your pregnancy is still viable, take the opportunity to discuss what signs and symptoms you should look for in the coming months. Your doctor may be able to give you information that will prevent continued stress that you will experience a missed miscarriage.

Diagnosis of a Missed Miscarriage

What usually leads to a missed miscarriage being diagnosed is when the fetal heartbeat is not detected on an ultrasound or handheld doppler when the pregnancy has reached a point that it should be detected. This will be repeated because there is usually some doubt as to how far into gestation you may be and whether a fetal heartbeat should be detectable at this point. Your blood hCG levels will be checked as they should show increasing numbers, doubling every two to three days, during a viable pregnancy. A follow-up ultrasound may then reveal that the pregnancy has stopped developing and is no longer viable.

It is possible that the term missed miscarriage might also be used if you have developed signs of miscarriage, such as bleeding during pregnancy, and an ultrasound reveals that your baby had stopped growing days or weeks before your miscarriage symptoms started.

Treatment of a Missed Miscarriage

After diagnosis, your doctor will discuss your options for treatment. You may decide the best course is to wait for a natural miscarriage to occur without intervention. This can take days to weeks to occur.

A D&C or a medication called misoprostol may be recommended, especially if there is no sign that the miscarriage is about to happen on its own. A D&C is is a surgical procedure in which your doctor dilates your cervix and uses suction or a curette to remove the contents of the uterus.

A Word From Verywell

Pregnancy loss can be traumatic, and it is understandable to be worried about the possibility. If you have had a missed miscarriage or you are experiencing anxiety that this will occur, ask your healthcare provider about emotional support and counseling options that can help.

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View Article Sources
  • Miscarriage. American Pregnancy Association. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/miscarriage/.