Sometimes, when a woman has neither menstrual periods nor any signs of pregnancy for several weeks, it is a result of a "missed" miscarriage.  About one percent of pregnancies result in a missed miscarriage.

In a missed miscarriage, the fetus has died but the body does not discharge the fetus, the placenta or any other elements of the pregnancy.  Signs of a missed miscarriage are typically the loss of identified pregnancy symptoms and the absence of fetal heart tones found on an ultrasound. 

The main goal of treatment during or after a miscarriage is to prevent hemorrhaging and/or infection.  The earlier you are in the pregnancy, the more likely that your body will expel all the fetal tissue by itself, and will not require further medical procedures.  If the body does not expel all the tissue, the most common procedure performed to stop bleeding and prevent infection is a dilation and curettage, known as a D&C. Drugs may be prescribed to help control bleeding after the D& C is performed. Bleeding should be monitored closely once you are at home and if you notice an increase in bleeding or the onset of chills or fever, it is best to call your physician immediately.

What is a missed miscarriage and how common are they?