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What causes missed abortion?

Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Answered by: Dr. Mini Sood
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
University College of Medical Sciences,
New Delhi
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Q. My 25 years old wife’s pregnancy was confirmed last month by HCG test. Everything was normal and she did not undergo any test till late this month. A few days back, she had droplet of blood, and I took her to a general physician (the only available option that night). Right away, a sonography was performed and the doctor told us that the growth of the fetus is not corresponding to the time elapsed. Next day, we consulted a gynaecologist and she suggested that it’s a missed abortion; on the same day my wife underwent DNC. It has been 4 days since the procedure and my wife is not having any problem so far. What are the probable reasons for missed abortion and which tests should she undergo now? After how long would it be safe for us to have intercourse? When can we plan a child next and can missed abortion happen again? If yes, how to avoid this?

A.  A missed abortion can occur in about 10-15% of pregnancies, and is usually due to an abnormality in the fetus, or placenta- so it is natures decision to get rid of it. There are several other causes like maternal diabetes, hypertension, fevers, urine infection, or blood group incompatibility or infections like TORCH Group, which can cause it. So you need to get a few tests to find the cause. In as many as 30-40% cases no cause maybe found and stress could also have resulted in abortion. After the tests, if a cause is found, it can be treated, but if not, the patient can take Tablet Folic acid, 5 mg ms/day for three months before planning the next pregnancy. She can try after a period of 6 months. The chance of a repeat mishap depends upon the cause, and maybe slightly higher next time, but there are precautions that can be taken, including medications like Inj HCG, for about four months every week.

A.  A missed abortion can occur in about 10-15% of pregnancies, and is usually due to an abnormality in the fetus, or placenta- so it is natures decision to get rid of it. There are several other causes like maternal diabetes, hypertension, fevers, urine infection, or blood group incompatibility or infections like TORCH Group, which can cause it. So you need to get a few tests to find the cause. In as many as 30-40% cases no cause maybe found and stress could also have resulted in abortion. After the tests, if a cause is found, it can be treated, but if not, the patient can take Tablet Folic acid, 5 mg ms/day for three months before planning the next pregnancy. She can try after a period of 6 months. The chance of a repeat mishap depends upon the cause, and maybe slightly higher next time, but there are precautions that can be taken, including medications like Inj HCG, for about four months every week.

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