It’s possible that you are reading this because you’ve just been through a missed miscarriage and want to understand more about it. Everyone knows what a miscarriage is, but silent or missed miscarriages are lesser known and understood. You may have not even realized you were pregnant and found out afterwards, this is because a missed miscarriage is an extremely early miscarriage. It happens when a pregnancy fails just after implantation. You might sometimes hear it called a chemical pregnancy and this is because a pregnancy is surprisingly not considered “clinical” until week 5 or 6. Without doubt, whatever its name, it’s an upsetting experience especially for women and their partners who have been trying to become pregnant. Any miscarriage, silent or otherwise should be dealt with delicately and with care.
What Is A Missed Miscarriage?
A missed miscarriage is a very early miscarriage – it is sometimes a pregnancy that is not even detected so some women don’t even know they have experienced one. However, some women planning to have a baby monitor progress very closely and find out they are pregnant very early by using the early pregnancy detection tests. These tests can pick up the hCG pregnancy hormone when it is just beginning to rise. Some tests are designed to detect the hormone up to 7 days after conception. So, if you are tracking your progress you might find you are pregnant within one week and then repeat a pregnancy test a week or two later only to find out the new test reveals you are not pregnant. This means you have had a missed miscarriage and the fertilized egg failed to implant. There’s no doubt that any miscarriage is very distressing particularly when you’ve been planning a baby and you’ve started to look to the future. According the The March of Dimes, in the USA there are 4.4 million confirmed pregnancies a year and out of that amount, 900,000 to 1 million end in miscarriage. The American Pregnancy Association tells us that up to 75% of those miscarriages are “missed miscarriages.”
Why Is This Type Of Miscarriage “Silent”?
Missed miscarriages are sometimes referred to as “silent” miscarriage. This is because there are usually no symptoms of miscarriage at all. That means you won’t feel cramps or experience heavy, prolonged bleeding as with another type of miscarriage. However, you might have just started pregnancy symptoms such as breast swelling, tenderness in this area and even nausea, but these will start to disperse quickly. Your period might begin slightly later than normal and this is because the body will natural experience a period when the egg falls away. The period may be a little heavier but it wouldn’t normally be very noticeable. There is no reason to visit your clinic or doctor if you have had a missed miscarriage unless you do have abnormally heavy bleeding. If bleeding continues for longer than your normal period, or if your period is abnormally heavy you should definitely make a medical appointment as soon as possible.
How Is A Missed Miscarriage Different From Other Types Of Miscarriage?
A missed miscarriage is different from other miscarriages in that you might not even realize you have had one and if you do, it will have happened extremely early in pregnancy, often before pregnancy symptoms manifest themselves. There are other types of miscarriage:
- A threatened miscarriage - when signs of a miscarriage, including cramping and some bleeding, are present for a few days or even weeks. Eventually these symptoms settle down and the pregnancy carries on as normal.
- An inevitable miscarriagenevitable miscarriage - when the symptoms of pregnancy loss have started, but the fetal tissues still remain intact.
- A complete miscarriage - when a pregnancy ends and the body naturally expels all of the products of conception through bleeding and cramping.
- An incomplete miscarriage - There are retained products of conception (RPOC) and all of the pregnancy-related tissue has not been expelled fully.
Any form of miscarriage should be followed up with an appointment with a medical professional.
Why Does A Missed Or Silent Miscarriage Happen?
The reasons behind silent miscarriages are one of two different situations. One is when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus but fails to grow; this is known as a blighted ovum, when an embryo does not begin to develop in the gestational sac. There is another reason for silent miscarriage which is a lack of heartbeat. This means the egg did attach itself to the uterus but didn’t develop so the heart did not start beating. It is hard to explain why either of these reasons happen, but usually the reason chemical pregnancies occur is because of chromosome error. Some doctors would explain this as the body’s way of realizing that the pregnancy needs to terminate because of poor quality egg, poor quality sperm or abnormal cell division. If your silent miscarriage was because of chromosome error, it is very unlikely the same error would reoccur. Be assured that these are not inherited problems.
How To Deal With A Silent Miscarriage
You should remember that silent miscarriage (as with other miscarriage) is very common and physically, your body will return to normal very quickly. However, as with any miscarriage the effects are more emotional than physical and you and your partner need to take time to recover. It is entirely normal to feel disappointment and to be upset after a missed miscarriage and it’s not uncommon for some women to experience depression. So if you do need a helping hand there is no harm at all in talking to your doctor. It’s easy to hide away from your friends and family after an experience like this, but it can also help to talk to others, and even seek out those who have had the same experience. You should remember know you are not alone; 20% of women around the world go through missed miscarriage. There would have been nothing you could have done to avoid it happening. If you do want to try again, it is normally perfectly safe to start when your period finishes. Ovulation can occur as quickly as two weeks after silent miscarriage.