Missed Abortion: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Missed abortion, also known as silent miscarriage, is a condition when the foetus is dead and retained inside the uterus for more than four weeks.

In this type of miscarriage, symptoms like bleeding and abdominal pain do not occur that occur in other miscarriages. So, it is very difficult for you to know that miscarriage has occurred.


The exact cause of missed abortion is not known but most of the abortions are caused by a defect in the chromosomes or chromosomal abnormalities.

Other risk factors may include autoimmune disorders, endocrine and metabolic disorders, direct trauma on the abdominal wall, exposure to radiation and toxic agents smoking, etc. In silent miscarriage, the embryo usually stops developing.


The cause of prolonged retention of the dead foetus in the uterus is not clear. Beyond 12 weeks, the retained foetus becomes mummified. The liquor amnii gets absorbed and the placenta becomes pale, thin and may be adherent.

But before 12 weeks, small repeated haemorrhages in the choriodecidual space disrupt the villi from its attachment. The clotted blood with the contained ovum is known as a blood mole. By this time, the ovum becomes dead and is completely absorbed.


Some women won’t experience any symptoms of missed miscarriage other than early pregnancy symptoms. Thereafter, the woman presents with the following symptoms-

  • Brownish vaginal discharge
  • Subsidence of pregnancy symptoms
  • Stoppage of uterine growth
  • No fetal heart sound
  • Cervix feels firm
  • The pregnancy test becomes negative
  • Retrogression of breast changes
  • Ultrasonography reveals an empty sac, absence of fetal motion or absence of FHS in later pregnancy.

If your pregnancy test was positive and you experience any of the above symptoms consult your health care provider. Most women won’t be aware of a missed miscarriage until the doctor detects it during an ultrasound.


After the confirmation of the diagnosis, your health care provider may prescribe misoprostol medication for the expulsion of the products of conception. In some cases, a product of conception is expelled naturally. But in case of incomplete abortion, medical and surgical procedures are used.

If the tissues are not completely expelled then vaginal evacuation can be carried out without delay. Suction evacuation or dilatation and evacuation (D&E) may be done to remove the tissues from the uterus.

You will recover within a few weeks to a month and your period will return in 4 to 6 weeks. If you want to get pregnant then you need to wait for at least three months until your periods get normal and you’re mentally and physically fine and ready. Or else, talk to your doctor about how long should you wait.

There is a 14% chance of recurrence in subsequent pregnancies. In case, you have recurrent abortion then your doctor will do testing to identify the underlying cause.


In the above post, we have discussed the missed abortion. Missed abortion, also known as a silent miscarriage or early fetal demise is a condition where the foetus is dead and retained inside the uterus for a variable time. The common cause is chromosomal defects. It is usually treated with misoprostol medication or dilatation and evacuation procedure.

Thank you all!!! Hope you find this useful.

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