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Missed Abortion

Missed Abortion
Missed miscarriage or missed abortion is a term used to define sudden loss of fetus, with the fetal tissue still inside the uterus. Read on to know more...About 15 - 20% of all pregnancies eventually end in miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. Most miscarriages happen during the first trimester. Only 1% of pregnancies may end in miscarriage after the first trimester. Depending upon the cause of abortion, the phase in which it takes place and its symptoms, it can be classified as threatened abortion, inevitable abortion, incomplete abortion, complete abortion and missed abortion. In this article, we are going to study missed abortion in detail.

What is a Missed Abortion?

In a missed abortion, pregnancy is terminated all of a sudden. The fetus stops growing due to unexplained reasons. Often, missed abortion goes undetected for several weeks due to lack of missed miscarriage signs. Hence, it is also one of the most serious forms of miscarriages. In addition, the woman continues to have pregnancy symptoms for several weeks even after the fetus is no longer viable. This makes it even more difficult to detect it. More often than not, it is discovered when the woman goes for a routine checkup. A series of tests are recommended if the doctor suspects absence of a viable fetus. As the contents of the aborted pregnancy still reside inside the uterus, this type of abortion can be particularly threatening for a woman. The dead fetal tissue can cause serious infections and complications, which may put the woman at the risk of losing her uterus. Hence, it is a must that it is detected as early as possible.

Missed Abortion Symptoms

Missed miscarriage is not characterized by heavy bleeding, cramping, etc. which is the case with spontaneous and complete abortion. Missed abortion virtually shows no physical symptoms. It can only be detected through an ultrasound, which shows no heartbeat. Again this is true only if the fetal gestational age was more than 12 weeks. Very early missed abortions cannot be detected on an ultrasound. Although, a woman may continue to have pregnancy symptoms, level of hCG which is a prime indicator of pregnancy plummets rapidly. This can be detected through blood or urine tests for hCG. Incidentally, most women suspect nothing wrong with their pregnancy, hence do not voluntarily go for any of these tests. The only time they are informed about the loss is when they go for routine examination. Regular and due prenatal care may avoid this problem to some extent.

Missed Abortion Treatment

As soon as a missed abortion is detected, steps are taken to expel the fetal tissue out of the body. Sometimes, some medications may be prescribed which aid in expulsion of remnants of pregnancy. If that doesn't help, then a surgical procedure named dilation and curettage (D&C) is undertaken. In this procedure, cervix is dilated and the fetal tissue is scraped off the uterus. Similar to any other surgery, this surgery also carries the risk of infection. Nonetheless, it is the most effective way of expelling fetal tissue. Rarely, body may expel the remnants of pregnancy on its own, either partially or completely.

A woman may take some time to heal after going through such traumatic experience. Not only her body becomes weak owing to severe hormonal changes, the loss of pregnancy often forces her to go into depression. Spousal support at this stage is very important. Couples should not rush into conceiving again, immediately post D&C. Wait until her first period arrives or better, let 2 - 3 menstrual cycles pass, so that her hormones regulate and her body is ready to handle another pregnancy.

If you ever had a missed abortion, there is no need to panic as your body is perfectly capable of carrying another pregnancy to full term, provided you take due care and caution. However, multiple missed abortions may be a cause of concern, hence must not be ignored.