A missed miscarriage is when a baby has died in the womb, but the mother hasn’t had any symptoms, such as bleeding or pain. Any type of miscarriage can cause shock, but a missed miscarriage can be particularly difficult because of the lack of symptoms.
This type if miscarriage is usually diagnosed during a routine ultrasound scan as part of antenatal care. The scan may show that the baby has no heartbeat or that the baby is too small for the date of your pregnancy. If there is still a heartbeat, then a second scan would be arranged in 10-14 days’ time to check your pregnancy.
How a missed miscarriage is treated
If you have a missed miscarriage you’ll need to have treatment and there are 3 options available:
- waiting for the miscarriage to happen by itself naturally (expectant management)
- taking medicine to help things along (medical management)
- having surgery to remove the pregnancy (surgical management).
Your doctor should talk with you about what may be the best option for you. You should be given some time for the diagnosis to sink in and think about what you want to do.
If you need to talk to someone you can speak to our midwives on our pregnancy line on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected].
Your emotional health
Miscarriage can be devastating. You may be struggling with grief, anxiety and shock, but you do not need to go through this alone. There are lots of organisations that can provide advice and support.
If you’re worried that you or your partner are struggling to cope after losing a baby, please talk to your GP. They will be able to help you get the support you need.
You can also talk to a Tommy’s midwife free of charge from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday on 0800 0147 800 or you can email them at [email protected]. Our midwives are trained in bereavement support.
It is sometimes possible to have tests to find out why you had a miscarriage and what this might mean for any future pregnancies.
Expectant management is one of 3 treatment options you can have if you have a missed or incomplete miscarriage.
Surgical management is one of 3 treatment options you can have if you have a missed or incomplete miscarriage.
If you have a missed or incomplete miscarriage, you may be offered medicine to help the miscarriage move along.
Aoife and Shane from Northern Ireland reflect on the difficult and very personal decision to temporarily stop trying to conceive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roslyn and Paul from South Ayrshire in Scotland had an early miscarriage before getting pregnant with their first daughter Ava who is now 4 years old. They went on to lose another 3 babies before getting a referral to Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at University Hospital in Coventry. Their second daughter, Ciara, was born in April 2019 and is now 7 months old.
Holly and Peter, who experienced recurrent miscarriage, had a missed miscarriage before becoming pregnant with their daughter Millie, who is now 4 years old. In 2017, they found out they were expecting again but sadly lost their baby, Sophie, at 14 weeks. After another 2 missed miscarriages, their second rainbow baby Finley arrived.
ℹLast reviewed on February 10th, 2020. Next review date February 10th, 2023.