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What Is A Missed Miscarriage? An Expert Explains

Just about the only thing that can be comforting after a miscarriage is the community of people that comes with it — one in four women will endure the devastation of a pregnancy that ends in miscarriage. Many of them had already excitedly held a positive pregnancy test in their hands and even saw the flicker of a heartbeat on an ultrasound. But what about the miscarriages that initially go unnoticed with no symptoms or signs? What is a missed miscarriage?

A missed miscarriage has also been dubbed a silent miscarriage, mostly because you won’t experience the usual red flags of cramping or bleeding that are associated with miscarriages later in pregnancy, according to Parents. The devastating news is often discovered when you go for your first ultrasound and a fetal heartbeat is not detected.

Because heavy bleeding is not experienced in a missed miscarriage, it is important for a woman’s body to be fully rid of all pregnancy related tissues. Dr. Miranda Graham says in an email interview with Romper that in the case of a missed miscarriage, this process often requires a medication that induces uterine contractions and helps to expel this tissue. If the medicine is not successful, then a dilation and curettage (D&C) may be necessary. Some women also opt for a D&C because they feel uncomfortable miscarrying at home and wish to take control of the circumstances.

It doesn't hurt to ask: Can this type of miscarriage be prevented? Unfortunately, like most miscarriages, missed miscarriages are most often the result of genetic abnormalities and out of your hands, according to Parents. However, if you have suffered multiple miscarriages, then it is definitely time to speak to your doctor about digging deeper for answers.

Of course, no matter your situation, miscarriage is a painful journey that should not be walked alone. Lean on friends and family, and advice from moms who have been there: “The most helpful thing anyone told me was that it was OK to be sad.”

And it most certainly is.