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What happens when a pregnancy has ended but miscarriage is yet to happen?

(267 Posts)
MrsBobDylan Thu 01-Dec-16 22:02:53

Hi, am 8 weeks but a scan has shown that heartbeat is just a flicker and measurements are way out for the number of weeks. I have a scan on Monday and expect to find the pregnancy is finished.

However, all the pregnancy symptoms are still there so think I will need some kind of medical help to end it.

Would anyone mind sharing what my options would be and how it might work please?

I thought all would be ok at my last scan but now I know it's not I just want to prepare for the next stage. Thanks in advance.

McBaby Fri 02-Dec-16 06:55:47

I didn't know the baby had died at 4/5 weeks and I started bleeding at 10 weeks. I had a pretty straightforward natural miscarriage and bleed for a week.

It just took my body a 5/6 weeks to notice the baby had died and the sac continued to grow for some time.

Autumnsweater Fri 02-Dec-16 07:09:04

I'm so sorry this has happened.

I found out my baby had no heartbeat at the 12 week scan - baby had stopped at ten weeks. 6 days later I had a natural miscarriage at home (whilst waiting for an appt for D&C hmm).

They give me three choices - either wait for it to happen naturally, have a surgical procedure to remove it under general anaesthetic (commonly known as a D&C although actually it's a slightly different, related procedure), or a medical miscarriage where you take a medication to induce it - for this option you had to stay in hospital for the day.

I chose the surgery but there are so short staffed at my hospital it happened naturally beforehand in the end.

The Miscarriage Association have some really good information on their website about the options. Basically they say risks are roughly the same just choose the one that right for you.

I would say though I ended up needing the procedure anyway because although it happened naturally there was some retained placenta afterwards so bear that in mind as a possibility - that dragged it out for weeks for me in the end. Although I don't know how common that is and whether more likely to happen with a slightly later miscarriage.

Also mine was significantly different to a period - I had strong contractions for hours beforehand - again don't know if that would be different if slightly earlier. I didn't find the nurses helpful tbh they said it would be like a heavy period and it really wasn't.

Autumnsweater Fri 02-Dec-16 07:11:32

PS the procedure was really straightforward and I was fine very quickly afterwards I would choose that again if I was in that position.

BreatheDeep Fri 02-Dec-16 07:15:48

I found out at the 12 week scan too. Baby had stopped growing at about 9 weeks. I booked in for a d&c just over a week after the scan but started miscarrying the morning before the procedure. Still went ahead with it to make sure everything was removed. I also had strong contractions.

The nurses at the scan said it's quite normal to start miscarrying once you know the baby has died as it 'overrides' the body's response.

Miami81 Fri 02-Dec-16 07:40:07

Mrsbob. So sorry to see you on this thread and I am very sorry for your loss. I am in the same situation as you I am afraid. I had a missed miscarriage in April and had it managed with the tablets as I couldn't face the wait for the erpc (more commonly referred to as D & c) and also was scared of surgery and general anaesthetic.
The day I took the tablets was the worst ever, we are off this morning to do the same for the second time and my heart is broken. But it is relatively quick, I think the reason they tell you it is like a really heavy period is to try and prepare you for the goriness of it all. I took a lot of painkillers (combination of paracetamol, extra strong nurofen and codeine) and sat on the loo for the worst of it. Sorry I'm not trying to freak you out just explaining what it was like for me. It is pretty traumatic and I think the tablets concentrate the situation, mine was all over in around 5 hrs, I know from other boards that natural can take much longer.
There is a very detailed thread on here about the practicalities of what to expect. It is no holds barred but I found it very reassuring and it gave me a clear understanding of what to expect.
My thoughts are with you. flowers

ImaLannister Fri 02-Dec-16 07:40:08

MrsBobDylan firstly, sorry to hear of your loss. Your not alone here. Let me tell you my experience, so you can get an idea. I had an early 9 week 1 day scan, (I was getting brown discharge so the midwife booked me in for a scan) At the scan I was told no heartbeat, baby died at 8 weeks 3 days. They give you options like a PP said, either wait for natural miscarriage to occur or get the foetus surgically removed (D&C). I was given 2 weeks to think about it, and to let them know my decision. 1 week later I made up my mind to have a D&C. They booked me in for it 1 week later (I could have had an earlier appt but because I wasn't available I had to make do with an apt 1 week later) I still had all the symptoms, sore boobs etc. The night before my D&C scheduled op I naturally miscarried. The pain, And heavy bleeding I would wish upon no one. I have never experienced pain like it in all my life. If you choose the D&C you can avoid all of that. It all depends if you wish to go through it all the natural way. In a way I was pleased I did it the natural way, but be prepared for seeing the sac & pain that comes with it. After the sac passed my pain disappeared. In a nutshell from the baby's heartbeat stopping to me naturally miscarrying took around 3 weeks. But everyone's body is different I guess, I still had pregnancy symptoms after the miscarriage for around 2 weeks later, then finally my boobs reduced in size as did the boob tenderness/soreness. I got my first period 5/6 weeks later.

tigerdog Fri 02-Dec-16 07:45:27

This has just happened to me this week too. I'm really sorry to hear what you've all been through. flowers I discovered that the heart must have stopped only a day or two before at a scan on Monday. A second scan confirmed it that day at the EPU.

My measurements were only a day or two behind and at almost 10 weeks so there was no uncertainty around dates (it was also an IVF pregnancy so I couldn't be wrong about conception dates either). I was booked in for surgery 48 hours later - they treated me as an emergency rather than making me wait for a routine slot. I'm grateful that they did. Didn't even get spotting in that time and full on pregnancy symptoms continued.

I chose surgery because I didn't want to see it happen. I also didn't want to wait and see if it would happen naturally - the element of suprise and the still feeling pregnant would have been very difficult for me. At that 10 weeks, it was definitely not going to be like a heavy period - I can't believe they said that to you autumn.

I would also say the surgery was fine and I have had very little pain since. Lots of bleeding the same day but not as much the day after.

I hope all goes ok for you mrsbob. Thinking of you.

ImaLannister Fri 02-Dec-16 08:19:41

Forgot to mention my experience lasted around 12 hours.

Propermardy Fri 02-Dec-16 11:02:24

Hi, I'm sorry to hear you're going through this. I'm at the start of a miscarriage, and think mine will happen by itself as I'm already bleeding. There is an excellent thread on here, where ladies all post their experiences to give you an idea of what to expect and excellent tips on preparing yourself, which may help you decide option you would prefer, you do have options. It is 28 pages long, which brought home to me how often this happens but how little it is talked about, sadly. Look after yourself.

OldLagNewName Fri 02-Dec-16 11:13:22

Other people have given good advice. I just wanted to send sympathy and flowers. I had a missed miscarriage 12 years ago and even though I now have two lovely children, I'm still sad about that baby. Be kind to yourself and let yourself feel sad when you are ready to.

MrsBobDylan Fri 02-Dec-16 11:20:40

Am really, really touched with the replies, thank you all so much and I'm so sorry for your losses. Miami, I was thinking of you since you had your 'bad' scan - it must be so hard to go through it all

I had a very early miscarriage in 2013 and remember being surprised at how much more painful it was than a normal period, but I did think that one further along might be worse. I would always rather know. It's helpful to be able to think about my options now.

I do know that I want to bring closure to this process as soon as I can. I'm genuinely very grateful to you all for sharing your experiences so l can in some way prepare myself. I'm also a bit of a wimp and shall be taking every bit of pain relief on offer!

SammyL100 Fri 02-Dec-16 13:10:43

So sorry for your loss.

I had a missed miscarriage earlier this week and it was only spotted at the 12 week scan.

Firstly I was given 4 choices:

- Leave it to nature and come back to check all tissue has gone 2 weeks later in hospital
- Take some tablets to speed process up and come back to check all tissue has gone 2 weeks later.
- Have a general anaesthetic to remove pregnancy tissue
-Have a local anaesthetic to remove pregnancy tissue.

I was thinking about the local anaesthetic as I wanted the process to be over as soon as possible. However within 6 hours of the scan I naturally miscarried.

The pain was strong, period like cramp for about an hour and I had a short sharp very very painful cramp ( lasted about 5 mins) where most of the tissue passed and then relatively light bleeding and light cramping for the next 3 days. Overall in the first few hours the pain was present with one short sharp burst and then the pain eased off. I bled heavily for 2 days and then lighter bleed for the next 3 days.

Practically the amount I bled meant I had to use a Tena disposal pant, an ordinary sanitary towel, even for heavy flow was not adequate, so I had to wear a big fat incontinence pant (which did the job)!

So in my personal experience the first couple of hours were painful but the worst was over within 48 hours.

Sorry for being so explicit but hope this provides some useful advice.

And sending you hugs. Xx

emsler Fri 02-Dec-16 15:37:47

Hi MrsBobDylan, I had the same experience - slow growth and a slow heartbeat seen on 3 scans followed by a MMC discovered at the final scan at around 10.5 weeks. I opted for surgical management as nothing had happened after a week, and even though I was incredibly anxious about it, I'm really glad I did. After around 10 days post-surgery I stopped bleeding and ovulated as normal, and my cycle was back on track. The procedure itself was very straightforward (I wrote about it in detail here: and aside from pain on day 4 which was manageable with painkillers and only lasted about an hour, it was relatively painless.

So sorry for your loss - I'll be thinking of you.

MrsBobDylan Fri 02-Dec-16 20:23:26

Thanks for sharing your experiences sammy and emsler and so sorry for what you've been through.

I think it's starting to dawn on me that this is an unavoidable 'thing' I'm going to have to go through. I'm hoping it will just happen naturally but it feels like I'm a way off that yet and I don't want to wait.

I am not sure what option I'll choose. I think I'll have to tell work what I'm doing as I don't want the sickness to go on my general record and if I do need a week off they will want a drs note anyway.

It's all a bit shit isn't it? When I found out the heartbeat was slow and the baby hadn't really grown I made a decision not to cry. In the waiting room after I cleared put old receipts from my handbag and I've carried on in that detached way since. It's a very confusing thing to try and process and I'm not sure I'm anywhere near feeling what I really feel is that makes any sense?

Anyhow, nonsense rambling aside, the kindness shown on this thread has been lovely, thank you.

emsler Fri 02-Dec-16 21:08:37

I did the same thing, I was very detatched. I think because I knew something was wrong for so long, when we were eventually told the heartbeat had stopped it was almost a relief in a weird way because the limbo of waiting for it to happen was worse than it actually happening. It hit me a few days later, and then again after the procedure. But in general having so much time to mentally prepare was very helpful. I think when you know something is going to happen it's a slower, drawn out grieving process rather than a big sharp shock. I'm actually very grateful it happened that way for me although the weeks of limbo were awful. You're just getting through it the best way you can right now and that's all you can do. Sending lots of love.

Mistletoetastic Sun 04-Dec-16 15:49:25

I found out on Friday at my 12 week scan that baby has died. Sent away to think about options. Have had bleeding since but not heavy. I am worried about the quanity of blood and fluid loss as the scan showed an enlarged uterus full of fluid, embryo died at around 9 weeks apparently. Would be 13 weeks Tuesday. My DH is having a procedure on his brain on Tuesday so didn't want to have surgery before this but considering it for later in the week depending how things go.

I have only heard/read positive things about the surgery tbh, I have a 4 year old and Christmas is close so I want to be back on my feet asap

Wibblewobble100 Sun 04-Dec-16 19:22:29

Hi all, Hope you don't mind me sharing. I also found out on Friday I had a mmc. Thought I was 11.5, but started bleeding and baby was 8.3 size with no Heart beat. I was booked for surgery on wed but actually it all progressed normally. For me that meant about 3 hours of to be honest what felt like labour yesterday. The type of pain that I couldn't be distracted from and really had to breathe through and left me exhausted. The bleeding was heavy at times, with constant dripping, and of course there were clots etc. Still having some cramping and heavy bleeding today, but it's not debilitating. I was very glad to have my husband with me and my toddler safely with my parents. I would have had no issues having surgery had it not happened by Wednesday, but as others have said feeling the physical pain that equals the mental pain and going through it with my husband was quite cathartic. I was worried about bleeding excessively as I bled enough to have emergency transfusions after I gave birth to my son, but it doesnt appear to have been too excessive this time.
My previous miscarriage was at 5.2 and this was no more than a heavy period that I could continue normal life with so completely different.

emsler Sun 04-Dec-16 19:33:13

So sorry to hear of your losses, Mistletoetastic and Wibblewobble100. It's such a horrible thing. Mistletoe, for me recovery time after the surgery was pretty quick but I did exhaust myself by doing too much too soon. Also be prepared for pain and increased bleeding around day 4-5 - apparently this is when your uterus contracts back to normal size. It took me by surprise after being relatively pain-free.

SammyL100 Sun 04-Dec-16 20:36:31


On a practical note, for the heavy bleeding I would strongly recommend getting Tena or Always Discreet Pants if you are worried about the amount if blood. They are basically like adult nappies and usually kept in the bladder control/incontinence section of Boots/Superdrug or other pharmacies.

When I miscarried I went through 5 heavy sanitary towels in 2 hours and ruined my bed sheets, messy and embarrassing . When I discovered the disposable pants they did the job with no leaks or constant changing.

And love and flowers to everyone here sharing their experiences.

Oly5 Sun 04-Dec-16 20:45:44

Can I ask any of you ladies if you waited for a period before TTC after miscarriage? Ivestipped bleeding and had a negative pg test and would like to try again ASAP. Has anyone done this or do you all wait for your period for dating purposes?

poisonedbypen Sun 04-Dec-16 20:53:18

My sympathies to all. I had two missed miscarriages which didn't resolve naturally, just some brown bleeding/spotting which was what alerted me each time. I had surgery each time.
I have 3 lovely children now but I will never forget that feeling sad

emsler Sun 04-Dec-16 20:59:44

Oly5 - I didn't wait but I did ovulation tests so
I would be able to date if I did get pregnant first cycle (I didn't, now on cycle 2).

Kirsty157 Sun 04-Dec-16 21:41:16

Hi all, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your experiences. I went for a scan after a little bleed last week at 9 weeks, to find baby was three weeks behind where he should be and no heartbeat. Went back for a follow up scan on Friday and scan showed development but baby has a very slow heartbeat.
Like the OP I'm just waiting now. I have another scan booked on Friday which I'm expecting to confirm miscarriage. I have very slight brown discharge, and I'm hoping things will progress naturally, as midwife at EPU says there could be a 10 day wait for d&c 🙁 I have two children and they are not aware of the pregnancy so worried I might have to have the procedure when they've finished school for the holidays.
Thoughts to all of you experiencing similar at the moment xx

Oly5 Sun 04-Dec-16 22:14:21

Thanks for the tip emsler. Yes, sorry to all going through this

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