Misdiagnosed Miscarriage

When a woman is diagnosed with a miscarriage, she usually has three options: a D & C, an inducing medication, or wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally. However, after reading many personal stories at misdiagnosedmiscarriage.com it seems that the third way, the “wait and see” option may be the best one, offering real hope that your baby may be alive and well despite predictions to the contrary.

Here are a few reasons that you may have been diagnosed with a miscarriage, when there is actually a healthy, developing baby inside.

Misdiagnosed Blighted Ovum: Also known as “anembryonic pregnancy,” a blighted ovum happens when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop. Cells develop to form the pregnancy sac, but not the embryo itself. A blighted ovum usually occurs within the first trimester and a woman’s body tends to miscarry naturally. (Read more here: American Pregnancy.org)

It is possible that what looks like a blighted ovum may in  fact contain a healthy fetus.  When a Blighted Ovum is Not a Blighted Ovum is the personal story of a woman who had an ultrasound at 51/2 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, and 8 weeks, was diagnosed with a blighted ovum, and whose doctor strongly recommended a D&C. However she held out, mainly out of fear of D&C complications, and at her 9 week ultrasound found a healthy baby with a strong heartbeat!

If you have been diagnosed with a blighted ovum but are not experiencing miscarriage symptoms, you can choose to wait it out. Women with similar experiences say that up until 10 weeks is still to early to confirm a blighted ovum.  Misdiagnosed Miscarriage.com has many more personal stories.

Vanishing Twin Syndrome: First recognized in 1945, vanishing twin syndrome is when one of a set of twin/multiple fetuses disappears in the uterus during pregnancy.  The most common symptoms include bleeding, uterine cramps and pelvic pain, which are generally associated with miscarriage. However, in this case there is still one living baby in the uterus. No special medical care is necessary with an uncomplicated vanishing twin in the first trimester.  If the fetal death is in the second or third trimester, the pregnancy may be treated as high-risk.  (For more information click here: American Pregnancy.org)

Fetus without Heartbeat: Early on in a pregnancy, up to 10 weeks, it is possible that an ultrasound will reveal a fetus, but will not detect a heartbeat. Keep in mind that when a doctor or technician tells you how far along in pregnancy you are, this can also be miscalculated. At your next visit there may in fact be a heartbeat and a healthy fetus.

These are just a few situations of misdiagnosed miscarriages. There are many more to be found at Misdiagnosed Miscarriage.com, including misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancies, misdiagnosis after light or heavy bleeding,  misdiagnosis after slow-rising or declining hCG levels, and more.

One of the site’s moderators has the following words of advice for anyone who may have been diagnosed with a miscarriage:

1. Many of the stories will overlap. Often times the women who have empty sacs with hCG levels over 10,000 will also be told the gestational sac is big enough that a baby should be seen. They will also find their babies between, on average, 8 to 10 weeks although, as you can see, a few are even further along.

2. Often women with a tilted uterus will fall into a number of these groups. They’ll have the higher hCGs that will not be doubling (really, despite what your doctor may say, they are NOT supposed to double in 48 hours at this time but instead 96 hours or even more). They will also almost always be told they are one to two weeks behind even when there is no possibility of conception to have taken place then. Don’t worry, in the second trimester when you have your abdominal ultrasound, dates will be more accurate.

3. For women who fall in the “No Heartbeat Seen” category during the first trimester, we have been told you should wait at least a week and have a follow-up ultrasound to verify. Unless you are showing signs of infection or something is seriously wrong, ask to wait that week. As you can see, those little heartbeats can on occasion show up.

4. Women who have ultrasounds done by doctors are also frequently misdiagnosed much too early. Women should always turn down ultrasounds done by their doctors and only have them done by fully-trained ultrasound technicians. Research is showing that ultrasounds may not be as safe for our babies as we’d like to believe and you really do want a technician who knows what they are doing.

5. If you finally believe there is no hope and schedule that D&C, please, ask for one final ultrasound right before the D&C. We’ve had too many babies turn up at that ultrasound now.

6. Keep in mind, a number of women who were given no hope found their babies at nine weeks or beyond. Unless you are showing signs of infection or have a serious condition, eight weeks may just be too soon to have a D&C for a blighted ovum.

I am still adding helpful stories to this post. We just have so many misdiagnosed women’s stories here now that this is quite an undertaking in itself. As I add more stories, I’ll add more helpful information to this post.

I hope women find this post helpful. I am also hoping that once we get these stories ‘categorized’, we’ll have an easier time figuring out how to get the ultrasound literature changed so it reflects more accurate information. Also, if we can get doctors to realize that they are misdiagnosing too many women, maybe they can examine how they might handle these pregnancies differently.

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