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Tragic missed abortion

Dr. Shalini Kapoor Kad
Nov. 9, 2010

A homoeopathic paediatrician, a counselling expert and a freelance writer are a few words to describe my profession. My sole aim is to put forth practical piece of information that guides every one right in the direction, blending the medicos to a layman with a simple gesture to make the medical things a little less convoluted and comprehendible.


Abortion the word in itself is a setback for a couple who desires a new life in their lives to fill every moment with happiness. Abortion can occur in varied forms presenting as sudden vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain with the absence of periods for a while. Abortion can occur either late or early in the course, though abortions after the 18th week are seldom to occur. Missed abortion is one tragic form where there may be no signs of any abnormality and the baby may be found dead on a routine examination.

What is missed abortion?

The term describes an abortion where the foetus is dead and is retained in the uterus for weeks with the continuation of amenorrhoea i.e. no periods.

How it presents?

Here the symptoms to indicate the loss of pregnancy may be completely absent and the diagnosis may come as a surprise for the mother as she can’t even imagine that all was not going well with any symptoms revealing any disharmony underneath.  Sometimes a brownish discharge may be reported that is usually slight with or without a mild abdominal pain or backache.

Why it happens?

Though the exact aetiology remains concealed but in most cases the scenario arises as a result of some genetic anomalies that terminate the natural course. Here there may be no genetic inheritance from both the parents and the situation arises as a result of some abnormality within the fertilised ovum itself.  

What to do?

Once a mother reports any discharge in the course of pregnancy should immediately consult a doctor. Ignorance can prove fatal. Once the diagnosis is established with ultrasound there is no use continuing the pregnancy. Waiting for things to turn alright can be dangerous the products of conception have to be removed and the process needs to be stopped b either medication induced abortion or typical surgical method of dilatation and curettage.

The mother can do nothing about the whole situation and helplessly has to accept the fact. Any medications or artificial progesterone too may be taken in vain only prolonging the revelation.

Medicine induced abortion

This mode of action can be adopted before / till the completion of 40 days of gestation. The method is safe and preferable over the surgery. Here the medicines open ways for the retained products of conception in the uterus to be voided off naturally. The initial phase of the process is troublesome and painful whereas the process where the actual products come out is bearable with marked uneasiness.

Dilatation and curettage (D & C)

It is done under obstetrics experts under general anaesthesia, where first the opening is dilated and then the uterus is scraped for the products.

Future prediction

Here the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby later on is very high and these types of isolated missed abortions do not cause much interference though the mother needs to be a little more vigilant next time.  A thorough examination should be done before another conception to ensure and avoid any mishap again.

Mother needs support and should be treated nice as she becomes a mother as soon as she conceives and gets to know about it. Losing the attached part just like that is not swift to perceive and go by. 

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