Missed Miscarriage or Misdiagnosis? No Heartbeat at 10 Weeks 44


missed miscarriage

I was told at 10 weeks that my baby had no heartbeat and had stopped growing at 8 weeks. It was just a routine dating ultrasound. I’d had no bleeding, no cramping, and no indication that anything was wrong. I suffered from a missed miscarriage. As a mother of three healthy boys with no previous history of miscarriage, this was a new experience for me and one I found would have been far easier on me had I known what to expect. I’ve chosen to share my story from start to finish in a series of short articles so that other women who face what our family did are more prepared. You’ll find my story enhanced with research as well as information gleaned from talking to other women who have had miscarriages and healthcare professionals I met through the process to help answer questions you may find yourself asking.

Article one will deal with whether or not missed miscarriages or miscarriages in general can be misdiagnosed, whether or not you should get a second opinion, and if so, when.

When I was first told I’d had a missed miscarriage, the doctor was very brusque. The ultrasound was very short and my options were shorter. I could have an D&C (Dilation and Curettage) or wait it out naturally. I didn’t believe him. I left that office 100 percent sure he was an incompetent hack. I spent the next week reading stories of people that were told they’d had a missed miscarriage and had everything turn out OK. One minute I was sure my baby was fine, the next I was in tears because I knew she/he wasn’t. It was the longest week of my life.

Is it possible for a miscarriage or missed miscarriage misdiagnosis to happen?

Yes, based on forum responses from women on misdiagnosedmiscarriage.com and personal interviews with women who preferred to remain anonymous, misdiagnosed miscarriages are most common in early pregnancy.

Your chances of a missed miscarriage misdiagnosis may be higher if:

-You are 6 weeks pregnant or less. The further along you are after the 6 week point, the lower the chance of miscarriage misdiagnosis.

-Your ultrasound was not done vaginally. Vaginal ultrasounds are far more accurate in early pregnancy.

-A fetal pole was not seen. This may indicate your due dates are off or you may have a tilted uterus. It appeared to be more common for no fetal pole to be seen and a baby to be found later, than a baby with no heartbeat to later have one.

If a baby is seen measuring 8 weeks or larger with no heartbeat, the chances are quite slim that you had a misdiagnosed miscarriage. If you’re looking for hope, I know that’s not what you want to hear, but I found false hope made my week of waiting far longer. In my case, I was wrong, my doctor was right, and I did have a missed miscarriage, but I’m still glad I got a second opinion. Most of the women I spoke to felt better about things if they got a second opinion or wished they had if they didn’t. It offers that certainty that keeps you from wondering if you’re doing the right thing if you opt for a D&C or struggling with the idea your baby may be alive if you decide to wait it out for a natural loss.

How long should I wait before I get a second opinion about a missed miscarriage?
I know your first instinct is to run straight to another doctor, clinic or the ER to get a second opinion right now, but the general guideline is to wait one week. Why? If in one week the baby has not grown at all, there is no doubt that your baby is indeed gone and you’ve had a missed miscarriage. If you get a second opinion right away, yes you’re getting a new machine and new person reading that machine, but if your due date is incorrect or your baby is developing slowly due to other circumstances, it’s possible you’ll still get a misdiagnosis. Many women who get ultrasounds around 6 weeks find no heartbeat and later find one. Your baby’s heart begins to beat around 6 weeks. If your due date is even a few days off, you could be misdiagnosed with a missed miscarriage.

What about HCG blood levels to catch a missed miscarriage misdiagnosis?
I declined HCG blood testing for the most part. I didn’t want one more thing to stress over. Why? HCG is supposed to double every 48 hours in early pregnancy before peaking around 10 weeks and then beginning to decline. Note the word, “supposed.” It is not uncommon for women to have non-doubling HCG levels and have perfectly healthy pregnancies. If your due date is off, your levels could already be dropping. If your baby passed recently, your levels may not have begun to drop off and could remain high for weeks. There are so many things that make HCG levels irrelevant; it’s really just information that’s going to make you worry more. What you do need to know is that your levels return to zero if you do indeed miscarry, meaning a blood test after your loss, if it happens, is recommended.

Article two covers handling the grief of a miscarriage. I hope that this article helps those who are facing a possible missed miscarriage and a sincerely hope you have no need to read article two.

You may also find useful:
3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Have a Period

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44 thoughts on “Missed Miscarriage or Misdiagnosis? No Heartbeat at 10 Weeks

  • Cindy

    Three days ago I went in for my first prenatal visit with this pregnancy expecting to see that little fluttering heartbeat for the first time. Everything looked normal and good until my dr couldn’t find the heartbeat. She couldn’t find any bloodflow around the baby who was measuring about 7.5 weeks. I’m heartbroken. I’ve had no cramping, bleeding, etc. My hcg and progesterone levels are all normal for a 9 week pregnancy. She had me repeat bloodwork and hcg went up. I have to go back in on Monday to check again. I feel like I’m in limbo. I can’t fully let go and grieve while I still carry this little one inside of me. I can’t help but hold out a little hope that perhaps they were wrong. I don’t know how to let go and hang on at the same time. I have complete confidence in the Lord and continue to place my trust in Him. This is such a hard position to be in. God bless you all for what you’ve gone through/are going through. We are not alone in our sorrow and heartbreak.

  • Mary

    Yesterday morning we had a scan at 10 weeks 5 days as I was involved in a minor road accident the day before & was experiencing back ache similar to the pains I experienced during my miscarriage in June, so just to be careful we managed to get booked in for a scan. The first shock was to see we were expecting TWINS, we laughed & I literally could not believe my eyes, you could see one was bigger than the other. But then the nurse said she couldn’t see any heartbeat, she then proceeded to do an internal scan & got a consultant for a second opinion, but no heartbeats. I feel abandoned & in some sort of strange limbo. My body still feels pregnant, we were just starting to enjoy the pregnancy as the previous miscarriage had robbed us of a lot of joy from this one but we felt closer to the Safe Zone. One baby measured 8.5 weeks & the other 9.5. I can’t get my head around this, any advice greatly appreciated.

    • unwirklich admin

      I know that sometimes twins can be a bit delayed as far as development and it’s normal that they measure a bit different. I sincerely hope that’s the case here and that you were misdiagnosed. I can’t imagine what you’re going through even had multiple miscarriages myself. I’m so sorry.

      • Mary

        Unfortunately got rescanned & no heartbeats & no blood flow. Thanks for your kind words & just to anybody going through this & reading looking for answers, just know that you aren’t Alone. Many have gone this before you & unfortunately many will go through this after you, & know that every thought & fear you have is validated. You are Stronger thank you think. Much Love to you All xxx

  • Mandie

    I should be 11 weeks today going by my last period. I started spotting last night around eleven, just pink coloration on the tissue. A very dull ach in my belly. Went to the OB for a impromptu visit and they said my baby is only measuring 8 weeks and there is no heart beat. I’ve never had to go through this before and I’m heartbroken. I’ve had two beautiful kids already and am blessed to have them but, I’m just lost. My friend said they told her she miscarried her daughter around the same time and that little lady is now 4 years old. I dont want to place all my hope on the fact they might be wrong but…..i cant bring myself to get a DnC tomorrow at noon. I was told to wait and let it happen on its own is the best way but I don’t think I can handle that mentally. This is like asking if you’d rather have your heart ripped out quickly or slowly, either way its gonna hurt like hell. But what is the healthier way to do this? Mentally and physically?

    • unwirklich admin

      I’m afraid that really depends on you. The DNC is quick, but also less private. Some find a DNC is less physically painful, but if you’ve had children before, a natural loss may not be especially painful for you. Either way, there’s no reason you can’t take some time to think about it or get a second opinion. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  • Waitingonamircle

    I have been trying to conceive for 8+ years now and on September 3rd I had been having migraines for weeks with abdominal pain; so we went to the ER to find out I was 8weeks. The ultrasound measured 8 weeks 3 days, but no heartbeat. My primary did a ultrasound on September 8th, no heartbeat measuring 8 weeks 4 days with hcg levels of 23571. I was diagnosed with a missed miscarriage, my next appt is on the 28th. At this point I should be about 10 weeks.
    I’m scared, stressed with sadness. #alongtimecoming, Are their any suggestions or advice?

    • unwirklich admin

      I wish I could offer some sort of advice that would help, but there really isn’t anything you can do but wait and hope. Fingers crossed you were misdiagnosed.

  • My littl

    Life as we know it… after 11 years and so much excitement for the first OB visit this am i was advised that I am 9 weeks pregnant and baby is only 6 weeks with no heart beat… I swear it felt as if my heart stopped beating. No spotting or any signs of miscarriage though. If nothing happens I’m due to go back in 2 weeks time… like they say ” babies are little miracles” I’m a realist but keeping the faith. Any advise would be helpful.

    • unwirklich admin

      The only advise I can really offer is to try your best not to worry, other than that, there isn’t much you can do. I hope things work out for you.

  • Anonymous

    I had a blood test done 6/29/16 to confirm pregnancy. Dr. Requested a blood test to see about how far a long I was because I was on the pill and did not want to go by my last cycle. The test confirmed I was pregnant 6-13 weeks the result came in 6/30/16. I went to the Dr. This morning and had an ultrasound done. I am devastated i was told I had a missed miscarriage. She said the baby measured 6 weeks 4 days but there is no heart beat. They sent me to the lab and I had blood drawn. I choose to come home and let my body do the work. I am praying that I was misdiagnosed. I am praying that my baby is ok. My emotions are up and down. I am praying and hoping and then I hear the Dr.s words and I think I’m fooling myself.

    • unwirklich admin

      I am sorry for your loss, and I hope that you were misdiagnosed. 6 weeks is right about when the heart begins to beat, it’s possible it was just too early.

    • Angela Havens

      Sorry to hear that. I myself am going through the same thing. I went yesterday 7/18/16 to my first OBGYN visit I’m supposed to be 10 weeks but baby is measuring at 6 weeks with no heartbeat I also had blood drawn to look more into it. I go back in two weeks to see if we get a heartbeat & as I was walking out she said I was ok but I don’t think so..

    • Bri

      I am currently experiencing this too. I had an accident which resulted in an ER visit to check on baby. After both an abdominal and transnational ultrasound they determined they would send me to another hospital the next day that had advanced technology with increased sensitivity. The next day after an abdominal ultrasound I was told my baby was gone with no detail as to how they had come to that conclusion. The day prior I was told my baby looked to be about 5 weeks along; my family doctor had estimated me to be 10 weeks at that point going by dates. I dont want to believe it. My belly is still growing; i still have cravings, nausea, sensitive smell. I had known at that point that I was pregnant for 5 weeks so it’s basically impossible that I found out I was pregnant following conception so my baby must be underdeveloped determining their silent miscarriage diagnosis.

  • Kathryn Gaston

    Today I was told for the 6th time in 18 months that my baby has passed away. 10 days ago I had a happy moving baby with a strong heart beat. I’m 12+1 today and my waters went. They scanned me on an a&e machine and seen that half of the fluid had gone, placenta was still pulsating but they couldn’t detect a heart beat. Due to the machine they used they gynaecologist couldn’t work out how to zoom in etc I have to go back to the epu tomorrow to have it confirmed.
    I am praying and hoping that it was just missed and baby wasn’t moving as it was sleeping.
    My heart goes out to any mother in this situation. I hope and prey that your babies are OK and it is only a misdiagnosis. No one can ever understand the pain associated with loss unless they to have experienced it themselves.

    • unwirklich admin

      I am very sorry. I hope that things work out for you and they are able to find out what’s causing your losses.

    • Sondra Westover

      I’m going through this as well . I went for my 8 week and baby had a heartbeat of 167 bpm. Then I went in for my 3d one at 10 weeks and baby had a heartbeat of 161 bpm. Then last week 7/7/16 i went in for an ultrasound at the ob again and baby had no heartbeat was not told if baby was measuring behind . I was sent to the hospital that same day and they said the same thing . I keep hoping even though I know there is very little hope I am 12 weeks and the tried a transvaginal ultrasound and I know that hope is go but I keep hoping that maybe baby was in an odd position and sleeping .

  • Kay Hill

    Yesterday, July 3, 2016… I was diagnosed with a incomplete miscarriage… At first I didn’t know how to feel, but now I’m having overwhelming feelings of guilt & anxiety.
    I have a one year old son, normal labor / delivery, etc… With him I could tell that I was pregnant my body felt different, but with this baby I had no clue… What could I have done to prevent this from happening?

    • unwirklich admin

      In 99% of cases there is absolutely nothing that could have been done to prevent a miscarriage, usually it’s just the body’s way of starting over when something has gone wrong with the baby. I know that likely offers very little comfort, and I am sorry for your loss.

  • Brooke

    Hoping for some reassurance, diagnosed missed miscarriage 5/20 at 9w 3d. Saw fatal pole and heartbeat at 6 weeks, now ultrasound tech says just and empty sac. While I await to miscarry naturally, I am wondering if I should get a second opinion.

    • unwirklich admin

      Sometimes with a loss the body will begin to reabsorb the baby before bleeding begins, I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it does happen, now on the other hand it’s also possible the tech just messed up or even there were two sacs and only one was empty. Personally, if it were me, yes, I would get a second opinion, but keep realistic expectations that there is a fair chance the finding may be confirmed. I am very sorry for your loss if it is, and hope that it isn’t none the less.

  • Jenifer

    Your article has helped me also. I miscarried in Janurary 2016 I spotted went to the er they did hcg and transvaginal ultrsound I was 10 weeks but baby measured at 6 weeks the next morning I had a nautral miscarriage. Then March of 2016 I found out I was pregnant again. I was so happy scared but excited. Went at 8 w 1 d for ultrasound and babys heartbeat was strong and everything looked good. I am 10 weeks now and Yesterday morning I started spotting I went to the er last night and they discharged me saying I may or may not be having a miscarriage. I had no pain just dark red and brown spotting. Woke up this morning to continuous spotting and light cramps. My doctor set me up for a ultrasound at 3:30 today. The tech did the belly ultrasound first and my bladder was not very full so it was hard for her to see. She said that she couldn’t see a heartbeat. So she asked if I wanted the transvaginal I said of course to make sure. She did that there was no heartbeat and my baby measured at 8 weeks 6 days. She said that the baby was in the right place and the yolk sac had disappeared the way its suppose to and mu uterus and cervix and everything looked great just no heartbeat. I am so heartbroken and I’m not sure what to think. My husband said maybe they are wrong. I don’t want a d& c because they are invasive id rather pass the baby normally even though it will be a couple days till it detaches. I really don’t know what to think. I don’t understand how just within a few days my baby declines. I want to see a specialist but my insurance does not cover it and its expensive. So I’m trying to find answers. If you know of anything please.let me know. I’m confused and so heartbroken. Should I try for another baby I’m so afraud to feel this again. Its been so hard.

    • unwirklich admin

      I know that from my understanding it’s just a chromosomal thing in most cases. You can think of chromosomes like a blue print to your baby, and if they’re flawed, the baby can’t finish, so once it gets to the broken part, the body starts over. I know that’s not horribly comforting, but for me after two losses (I also lost my next pregnancy) it helped to realize that had either baby made it, they would likely have had life-long issues. Just why sometimes there’s chromosomal abnormalities, no one seems to know. If it helps, I did have my rainbow baby, a little girl March, 2015, and your chances of 3 in a row are pretty low (there’s a link there with some details). I don’t see anything wrong with getting a second opinion, especially if you just plan to wait it out. I am very sorry for your loss if that’s the case, my heart goes out to you.

  • Fiona

    Thank you for the information. I to have been searching the internet to find information on my situation. I can’t seem to find any and was wondering if you have come across the same situation?
    At 6 weeks 4 days I had an ultrasound baby was measuring a week behind and had a heart beat of 95. Than 2 weeks later they said I had another ultrasound and they said that there was only a sac and no baby. I find it hard that my baby has just disappeared. I do have a retroverted uterus and didn’t think to mention it, I was very upset. Have you heard of them going from having a heart beat to disappearing in two weeks?

    • unwirklich admin

      In your case I would definitely get a second opinion. The only scenario I can think of where a fetal pole/heart beat would be seen, and then disappear entirely and become just an empty sac would be a loss shortly after the first ultrasound, and then the body began to reabsorb the pregnancy. To my knowledge though, that happens more commonly in twin pregnancies where there is another baby preventing a full miscarriage. The body has time to begin removing the lost twin and reason not to just miscarry. I will note though, I am certainly not a specialist. I would also make sure that the new tech or doctor doing the scan knows you have the retroverted uterus if the first didn’t. I truly hope you get better news.

  • Karen

    thank u so much for this info..i’ll be having my first u/s tommorrow..im 10weeks pregnant aswell and we cnt hear my baby’s heartbeat…i hope my doctor will not tell me the same thing as your doctor told u…i’ll keep on praying…:'(

  • Jazmine

    Thanks for writing this. I have been searching all day trying to find answers or some comfort. According to my first day of lmp which was Dec.2 I should be about 13 weeks pregnant. I went to have sono done on Feb. 1st and there was only a sac. They had me do Hcg testing that day and then I had to repeat the test on the 3rd to see if levels rised. They did double. I returned to ob on Feb. 8th for another sonogram and there was an embryo with little heartbeat and I measured out to be 5 weeks and a day. The doctor said it was to early to tell when I would be due so he wanted me to return on February 29 for another sono. Well that was yesterday. I returned and we did transvaginal ultrasound, the baby had grew but there was no heartbeat. I measured out to be 7 weeks and a few days. They said I miscarried and I needed to choose how I would get the baby out whether I let it happen naturally, take a pill, or do a D & C. They said I should be much further along than this and the baby stopped growing. However it looks as though I ovulated late and the dates don’t match up. Could they be wrong? If there was a faint heart beat at 5 weeks, why not now? Could the baby be positioned differently? Should I get a second opinion? I was devastated when they said I miss carried. If the baby is really not living the idea knowing it’s not living and it’s still in me is bothering me. I’ve cried a lot over the last day and a half. Is it worth getting second opinion?

    • unwirklich admin

      I would, having been there, get a second opinion yes. In my case it was bad news (and it isn’t always), but it really helped me accept things and deal with that doubt. I didn’t opt for a D&C and let things happen on their own, but even so, it was better to know for me personally. For you, well that depends on you.

  • Grace

    Thank-you for the comprehensive information. I found comfort and reassurance as there is always a sense of doubt of a possible misdiagnosis. I was 8 weeks and 4 days when I was told no heartbeat was found. Both an abdominal and transvaginal ultrasound were done. The baby measured correctly at 8 weeks and 3 days so he/she died recently which was absolutely heartbreaking as I blamed myself for not knowing something was wrong. I honestly never thought I would miscarry although I knew the risk of miscarriage is high/common during the first 12 weeks. I had to wait over a week for my D&C but it gave me time to grieve. Also, I was not ready to let go my baby just yet. Over that week, I noticed I no longer felt pregnant – nausea and indigestion settled and my breasts were less tender as each day went by. Again, I’m so grateful for finding your site. It has given me piece of mind and a sense of calm during a devastating time.

    • Jennifer

      I’m typing this having just come from my doctor and faced with the same terrible news.

      Today, I’m 8 weeks and 4 days. I’ve been looking to switch OBGYNs since I found out I was pregnant to find a doctor closer to home. Yesterday morning I started spotting, just barely though, and it happened to be the same day as my appointment with my new possible OBGYN. So I went to the appointment later in the day, told them I wanted to see what their practice was like and casually informed them I was lightly spotting. He took all my background information (I had just received all positive results for my bloodwork from my current OBGYN) and it was time to do my ultrasound.

      He couldn’t find a heartbeat. However, baby was measuring at the exact size/age it was supposed to be – 8 weeks, 3 days. I panicked and after hearing the list of tests he wanted to begin via bloodwork, I gave my blood and headed home. I knew that I’d immediately go to my current OBGYN first thing this morning to check again because I KNEW everything was alright.

      Went in this morning, all worrying aside. My spotting had stopped, I felt like myself and I was positive this new doctor didn’t know what he was doing. I did just get an amazing ultrasound last week with loud and strong heartbeat.

      They told me the other doctor was right. No heartbeat. They also disagreed on the age they told me the fetus was…their ultrasound measured it at 7 week, 3 days. I was shuffled into another room, hysterical, and given my options.

      I know boy doctors confirmed no heartbeat, but how can their ages be off? Should I trust this? I’m terrified to make a decision when I have a glimmer of hope my baby is alive and well.

      Heartbroken and devastated. I’m so thankful these posts exist.

      • unwirklich admin

        I am truly sorry. It is a horrible thing to be left sitting there wondering. Fetal age by ultrasound is done by measuring, and if you watch the doctor sets the line or circle to measure, so that may explain the difference. If you have your doubts about your diagnosis, I would wait at least a week, and get another scan. That week for me was torture, and I ended up waiting it out for a natural loss anyway, but I felt somewhat better at least being sure.

        • Jennifer

          Thanks so much, unwirklich. I’ve started bleeding again so I guess this is the beginning. The absolute best of luck to you mamas. You’re in my thoughts and prayers…please stay positive. There is no use worrying.

  • Falynne

    Thank you for writing this. With everything I’ve been reading lately, this was what I needed to read. I had my first ultrasound last week at 8 weeks with no heartbeat and was given my options. I choose to miscarry naturally, but after reading of all of these articles of misdiagnosed miscarriages, I began doubting my doctor. This article was a little dose of reality… I’m hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. This article has been so helpful. Thanks again!

  • Eleanor Guevarra

    Hi, gud day everyone…
    it hurts while typing this but would just like to share my story as well…maybe also looking out for somebody also to comfort me in this time and situation…
    i am 8wks 4days pregnant according to my lmp…but the ultrasound measured the baby at 7w6d…
    there was no heartbeat…
    Last week the dr said the baby was ok it has heartbeat but i hv hematoma and if it will get worse i hv the risk of losing the baby…
    it broke my heart the most when i broke the sad news to my 10 yr old boy…who ws very happynto hv a baby sister…he cried and hes so sad to hear the news….
    still praying for miracle…
    i wl do my 2nd ultrasound opinion maybe nxt week…
    to anyone who can read this pls do say a prayer for me and my baby….
    GOD BLESS US ALL!!!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us and for doing the research. I’m going to take your advice and wait a week. I’m 10 weeks pregnant, measuring 6 weeks and no heartbeat. Carefully Planned baby, so heartbroken to be imagining the worse.

  • Stacey

    Based on my last period July 10th I should be 12 weeks today. Two weeks ago I had my first ultrasound and it showed I was 6 weeks, 4 days. Today I went for a follow up at the same place and the tech was pretty quick and went and called the radiologist doctor and he told me it did not grow and it had no heart beat. I spoke to my doctor right after about getting a DNC. Do you think this situation calls for a second opinion? I don’t think so, but my husband made the suggestion.

    • unwirklich admin

      If the scans were 2 weeks apart that’s pretty definitive, but its you and your husband’s state of mind that matters. If he feels he needs that confirmation I would give it to him. Fingers crossed you do not need condolences, but I am sorry for your loss if so.

  • Jenn

    Thank you so much for this information. This article helped me so much when I was diagnosed with a missed miscarriage this week. I was 10 weeks pregnant with embryo growth ceasing at 6-7 weeks. I had so many questions because I NEVER knew such a thing to happen.
    After discussing the options with my midwife I chose a medically induced miscarriage. I did go into a panic when I passed the placenta and the embryo because placental growth does not stop when the embryo’s did. I was terrified I had been misdiagnosed but my midwife was quick to point out since your body still thinks it’s pregnant everything still grows. 🙁
    Thank you again for your bravery.

  • fran

    thank you so much for this detailed information, also about hcg levels. it helps me to hear that I was probably not misdiagnosed. I was waiting for a miscarriage for 3-4 weeks now and nothing has happened yet but I am willing to wait a little longer before contacting my doctor again.

    • Joy

      I went to my first on appointment. The doctor did a vaginal ultrasound and saw twins but wanted to be sure so she sent me to radiology to get anthor ultrasound. Both vaginal and regular. When we went back up to the doctor, she said its confirmed they are twins.Right on target for 8 weeks development but no beat. She said to return in a week for anthor ultrasound to see if anything has changed.I was so upset and didn’t know what to do. I have a great husband that is so supportive. I have faith that everything will be okay. I have to keep telling myself that GOD is in control. I will be praying for all you moms to keep the faith and don’t give up.