Missed Miscarriage or Misdiagnosis? No Heartbeat at 10 Weeks 101

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. missed miscarriage

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 a 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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101 thoughts on “Missed Miscarriage or Misdiagnosis? No Heartbeat at 10 Weeks

  • Anonymous

    So sad to read all these real life stories happening to us women. I was in 12 days ago for dating U/S. Was virginal US… Baby measure 7weeks 3days… I was counting 8weeks based on my ovulation… I have irregular periods. No heartbeat was found… I was so worried and knew something might not be right even though I still fully pregnant.. Doctor said he wasn’t that worried… Thou he expected to have a heartbeat… 2 weeks earlier I have gone when I tested positive and no fetal pole was found, so he said this was an improvement from last… This Tuesday I started spotting… Dark brownish blood… I was worried and decide to do another ultrasound in another hospital … It’s been 11days since the last one… Well unfortunately baby was now measuring 6weeks 5days with no heartbeat..I have cried my heart out.. This was my first and a miracle to me considering the irregular periods and ovulation… I still feel pregnant… Met with my Gynecologist today… He said I lost the pregnancy…scheduled me for DnC tomorrow… He said baby must have dies a week or more ago… I am so lost… But hopeful that next pregnancy will stay and wipe my tears…i am so sorry for all your losses… It’s so painful and heart breaking..

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      I’m very sorry for your loss. Have you explored what might be causing your irregular cycles? It’s also possible that cause could affect future pregnancies depending on what’s going on.

  • Mari

    My heart goes to all of you, I am currently in the same situation. I am currently 8 weeks, first u/s said baby heart beat is low at 76bpm so then they schedule me for another u/s yesterday sonographer said baby had minimal growth and no heartbeat found this time. I don’t know I am really devastated this is my first pregnancy. I am yet to see my doctor tomorrow. I had a doubt with my u/s yesterday because its way too quick than i will normally have considering i have retroverted uterus and normally they put like a cushion underneath to get a better angle of my uterus and yesterday y didn’t

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      I’m sorry, I hope that you’re right and they were just far too bisque and missed it (if so I hope you complain, something like this shouldn’t be something you tell a women lightly). If not, my condolences. Wishing you well.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Mari. Sorry you’re going through this. I was you on August 16. After 2 different u/s my baby still showed no heartbeat and no growth. After 1 month, Sept. 18, I started contractions and bleeding, I passed out a lot of blood and I think my baby as well. Still bleeding today, 3rd day. Will have my 3rd u/s in 2 hours to see whether I have to go through D&C or not. I hope the positive outcome for you. If not, remember there’s a reason behind this and don’t feel guilty because this is not your fault. What helps me the most at this time is keeping really good communication with my Dr and her nurse to lessen my anxieties, plus the many people around us praying and expressing love for us. Most importantly, take care of yourself.

  • Anonymous

    8wks preg, baby measures 8wks, no heartbeat seen, no fetal pole seen.. OB says sorry and we can schedule a D&C or you can have an natural miscarriage at home but it will be bloody and if you worry its too much blood and call us we will just tell you to go to the hospital. I scheduled another Vag US for 10 days later.. with him , my ob. that is Monday 8/14 and im terrified but extremely hopeful.. did the baby stop growing the day I had the ultrasound?
    anyone misdiagnosed with a similar situation? trying to stay positive.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Sometimes a sack will develop without a baby, and that’s when you’d see no fetal pole ๐Ÿ™ I hope in your case it was a just a bad position or maybe your dates are a little off. Wishing you well.

      • Amor

        Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts Life with Gremlins. Few days ago I was told my baby has no heartbeat so here I am reading from mommies like you. Im really happy for those who were told the bad news but got their miracle. However, I feel for those who are still waiting for theirs. I was told Wednesday, Aug, 16, my 10 week old baby has stopped growing and has no heartbeat. Im waiting for a miracle like most of us. Im not doing anything medical for the next 4 weeks. Somehow in my heart tells me to hold on. My body is showing the opposite but my faith and the people around me keep me going. My heart goes to all of the moms going through the same thing.

  • DisneyMom

    I had 4 losses in a row ranging from 8 weeks up to 22 weeks between 20-21 years of age. I married young, and we already had two children. As the first was unexpected, I decided to put college on hold until the youngest was in school so we were actively trying for our third child. There are a few things I’ve read here, and wished to discuss.
    The 22 week loss was diagnosed as a missed abortion due to fetal demise. After losing Lizzy, I was diagnosed with stage III endometriosis as well as Systemic Lupus while my husband and I also underwent genetic testing. Lizzy’s loss was the hardest on me physically. I went to the midwife and after not hearing her heartbeat, I was sent to the nearby hospital for an ultrasound. She measured just 21wks 4d that day. The midwife gave me herbs to make tea to drink in order to bring on labor, but my body wasn’t cooperating. After a week I was told to find an OBGYN as I would probably need medical assistance. He too did an US and said she measured 20wks 5d…too small for an induction, I’d need a D&E. A mistake I did was doing an internet search on the procedure! He absolutely refused to deliver her so I could hold her and say goodbye. Surgery had been scheduled, and at this point I was developing a low grade fever. It took two doses of Versed (the amnesiac type of IV medication that is supposed to calm you and help you not remember much), not only due to the stress, but they had a scheduled C-section in the next bed over with her fetal heart monitor so LOUD that it made me hurt in every cell of my body, and my soul.
    I ended up developing septic shock within a few days and had been advised to find a different doctor during my 3rd ER visit in 3 days. I had developed PID. ***Note: be aware of the warning signs of PID if you have surgery following a missed loss*** I found a new doctor that day who saw me 20 minutes after I phoned his office and fortunately the ER provided copies of the tests done under their care. Side note: The OBGYN that I had kept insisting they send me home and the 3rd night the ER attending got into a shouting match over the phone with ‘my’ doctor.
    Within 1 hour of meeting my NEW doctor, I was in a hospital room with an IV in each arm, and then placed into an induced coma for nearly a week. I was *that* close to Death’s door. Even then, I was still feeling the grief of not getting to say goodbye to Lizzy. A lot of “what ifs”, including what if I had just come to the new doctor to begin with. All I had from the hospital was a knitted cap and booties. I don’t even want to say what they told me was done with Lizzy. I buried a rose bush over the booties along with a lock of my own hair. It seemed to help.

    I’m sorry I know this is long! If you need to edit it, I’ll understand.

    I had one more loss (with a high risk OBGYN) & decided to have a hysterectomy. I feel like I’d be better never losing another wanted baby.
    Well, I ended up going in for a talk with my doctor during the 3 months before surgery so I could get childcare and everything sorted before the major surgery. I said I wanted to try just one more time even though I was scared to death. I requested a medication and a supplement – as the last loss was due to low progesterone. I’m refraining from going into details as I’m sure you’d definitely delete it anyway. She asked me why I felt like I needed a fertility med, but I wanted the healthiest sized cyst to provide more hormone than I made on my own with the previous pregnancy. She approved ONE month of trying. I broke out my thermometer, charts, and prenatal vitamins. Of course hubby would have a super busy work week when I was awaiting ovulation, and was working when I noticed healthy EWCM. I hope this is okay to pay, but since he couldn’t leave work for more than half hour…I found a sitter and we did something we’d never done in a vehicle before (I was THAT determined). We conceived a baby that day. The only day in that entire month we were able to BD and I had a BFP less than 2 weeks later with a blood test to confirm AND check my hormone levels. I was prescribed the supplemental progesterone and was advised to take it sublingually. On our oldest son’s 5th birthday, we had a baby boy. During the pregnancy I had a nagging feeling that something was wrong. Hubby rented a Doppler, but the feeling didn’t go away. He looked perfectly healthy when he was born and nursed like a pro. Things were good. I’m going to skip since this is getting very long…he was diagnosed with long segment Hirschsprung’s Disease and had his 11th major surgery a week following his 1st birthday and we were told not to expect him to make it to a 2nd birthday. I FOUGHT to keep the pregnancy going, so each day was full of guilt. Each time he had to be given Valium, morphine and Donnatol, I felt guilty that I’D DONE THIS. We were put in touch with Make A Wish and things were in place for him to make a wish a close to the 2 as possible. On his 2nd year pediatric visit the doctor said there was good news and bad news, I asked for the bad news. He said that the baby would no longer be eligible for Make A Wish!!! He was going to live! He’d made it through heck and back. He had various therapies and was caught up to his peers despite severe developmental delays (due to immobility after each operation and the pain keeping him from wanting to do anything) – the meds at least allowed him a break from crying and he picked up baby sign language and slowly allowed us to hold him (Hirschsprung’s is a birth defect where ganglion cells do not develop in the intestinal walls causing megacolon, bowel obstruction, ruptures of the bowl, etc if undiagnosed and untreated).
    He’s 15ยฝ now and is a straight A student in a gifted magnet program. His goal is to become a doctor. Yet, I still have guilty feelings each time he has another obstruction or when he gets dehydrated from outdoor activity in such a short period of time due to most of his colon having been removed (the colon absorbs fluids).

    The last thing I wanted to mention for ANYONE that may consider this to avoid further losses…please do a ton of research on the tubal ligation. Despite exceeding an overnight pad AND an Ultra tampon each hour for 5 or of a 8-10 day long period, they cannot reverse the tubal unless I pay full price as insurance will not cover it (I think one does – in all of the USA), Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome is not viewed as a real thing. I nearly stroked out on low dose BC pills while I was in foster care (all menstruating girls were required to be on BC, even virgins), I cannot take BC to control the bleeding. I’ve had 3 C-sections, so I cannot have my endometrial lining seared. Instead, I go for IV iron therapy, take iron supplements, and get shots as well from time to time. I only opted for the tubal as it seemed like the best choice to not get pregnant and lose another baby. I should’ve done research. I had no idea what the tubal can do in some women. I was told the chances were extremely low as I was handed the consent form, yet so many women are suffering. I feel as though I’m in transition during my period…the contractions that are one on top of the other. The clots are huge. Yet my hormones are within range.

    I’m so sorry again for this being so long. If you decide not even to post this, is it possible to write about tubal ligation and the risks? The reason I discussed son is that I’m wondering if my 3 earlier losses were caused by the birth defect my son has.

    Sorry, last – last thing. Even though I was able to have my rainbow baby…my arms didn’t stop aching for those that I lost. I am glad to have my son as he’s such a wonderful boy…I just wish I could’ve grieved properly. I also wish that our daughter never has to go through this. And for the record, nearly 21 years later, my husband and I are still happily married. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for reading/listening Jenn. I hope your having a good day.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      I would never dream of deleting a single word of your post. Voices like yours need to be heard. I cried for you, and your losses, and your miracle. I hope that someday you find peace with what was done to you and what was beyond your control. I don’t know much about tubal ligation at present, but I will add it to my list of topics to research and add here.

  • RGunn

    I already know this answer, but I guess I just wanted your opinion. I haven’t really spoken to anyone about this since it’s our first time trying and no one knows (and it seems like everyone just had a baby or are announcing their pregnancies) And I think I’m still processing…

    Last week (Tuesday) I went in for my first (TV) Ultrasound. They actually cancelled my previous week appointment due to an emergency on their end. I should have almost been 9 weeks. The embryo measured 6 weeks 5 days, and she couldn’t find a heartbeat. I was heartbroken. I did blood work (which took them 3 pokes to get a tube of blood the first time and 5 pokes to get a tube of blood 2 days later!). I had to call in to confirm I’d get the results on that Friday, like they promised. They wouldn’t have given me my results until this week had I not called in. The doctor called back late Friday (of which I didn’t hear) and told me my levels weren’t rising. Again, pretty heartbroken.

    I couldn’t call back until Wednesday of this week due to the 4th of July weekend and they scheduled me for another TV ultrasound for next Wednesday. Everything seems pretty unviable, right? My BB temps are still high which is my only hope, but I think my body is just willing to let go.

    They haven’t exactly said the words “miscarriage,” however, they mentioned, “unviable” “not a keeper.” I’m looking for any glimmer of hope, but I’m pretty doubtful. It’s a tortuous wait and wanted to know if you had any advice. Thank you <3

    • unwirklich admin

      Are you super sure of your dates? Almost 9 weeks vs almost 7 isn’t that big of a difference. I agree no rise in hCG isn’t a good sign coupled with the ultrasound though ๐Ÿ™ I am glad your care provider is at least obviously taking steps to confirm things, it’s not impossible you’re just a slow riser with dates a bit off. Fingers crossed you get good news.

  • Alison

    I have been researching and looking for answers for over 10 years now. Today marks my 12th miscarriage. I have been tested, poked and looked at so many times in the most private parts of my being. It’s not funny any more. For all those who have ever lost a baby or had a miscarriage. I feel for you and absolutely hope that you find solice in prayer. I am waiting patiently for my miracle. God Bless

    • Maryam Foster

      I too have had over 13 miscarriages with no explainable cause. I, like yourself have turned it over to God and I’m waiting patiently for my miracle as well. With the Lord’s direction I found a book called “Supernatural Childbirth” by Jackie Maze. It helped me to understand God’s will for families and finally find peace and not only waiting on him to accomplish what he promised to couples but to do it supernaturally. It also helps you to over come your fears due to the other miscarriages which is vital moving forward. I promise you it is worth the read and is very easy to understand and apply. God bless, and may your supernatural pregnancy and childbirth be soon. I hope to be able to testify to his goodness soon.

  • Jackie

    As I write this I’m honestly in denial… Sunday May 7th I started spotting I went in the next day did a ultrasound measure to be 6 weeks all we saw was a tiny embryo just beginning to develop.. they sent me home and said everything seemed to be ok that I should be able to hear a heartbeat by next Monday on May 15 . During that same week I went to the ER on Saturday because I began bleeding more they did a ultrasound and they couldn’t detect a heartbeat I was 6 weeks 4 days when I went in they diagnosed me with either a threatened miscarriage or just a early pregnancy they checked my HCG levels and they remained at over 17,000 but the dr said she wanted to check my HCG levels on Monday the day that my next ultrasound was scheduled so I went in Today on Monday to get more blood work an afterwards I went to my ob appointment to get my ultrasound and again at almost 7 weeks they couldn’t dectect a heartbeat but he saw a fetal pole looking like it was developing but when he got my HCG levels from the hospital from that morning they had dropped to 13,000 so he diagnosed me that I’ve had a missed miscarriage and to let me miscarriage naturally. But I honestly feel in my gut that my baby is alive . That it’s just to early . He wants me to come next Friday to get another scan done… I am thinking of getting a second opinion….

    • unwirklich admin

      I’m sorry, the waiting and not knowing is so hard in this type of situation. I think that there was a change from one scan to the next growth wise is a great sign, hCG can fluctuate. If you do go for a second opinion, wait at least a week. I know waiting is torture when you just want to know if your baby is ok, but that wait let’s you see if your baby is continuing to grow or not. Fingers crossed for you.

  • Courtney

    I was diagnosed with a miscarriage, and scheduled for a D&C, but my gut told me something about it just wasn’t right. Needless to say, I have a sweet little boy. My heart goes out to all of the moms who experienced the same grief I did when they announced the miscarriage. Thanks for sharing this info.

    • Amor

      Sincerely Happy for you Courtney. I was told Wednesday, Aug, 16, my 10 week old baby has stopped growing and has no heartbeat. Im waiting for a miracle like most of us. Im not doing anything medical for the next 4 weeks. Somehow in my heart tells me to hold on. My body is showing the opposite but my faith and the people around me keep me going. My heart goes to all of the moms going through the same thing.

  • Anonymous

    Well can u help me fugure out what it is i need to do because i had a regular doctors appt yester 4/18/17 and they couldnt find a heart beat and once they did the ultra sound they told me there wasnt any fluids in the placenta im 14 weeks and 2 days but they said my baby was measuring to be 11 weeks they scheduled me for a D n C 2days later and idk what should i do at this point this would be my first baby im devastated and dont want to believe this….im getting a second opinion today from another doctor….im 26 years old and im trying to figure out if i should do the DnC or just wait a couple days then do it or wait and let it pass….please help me with this thanks

    • unwirklich admin

      You absolutely don’t have to have a d&c if you don’t want to, though I warn, a natural loss at home involves a lot of bleeding and is very messy. Be prepared for that and have someone at home with you in case you lose too much blood. I sincerely hope that in your case you don’t need that bit of info and this was a misdiagnosis. Fingers crossed you get good news.

  • Anonymous

    Hello, I just went to my doctor last Wednesday and told me that he cannot hear heartbeat. I am 8 weeks pregnant and this is my 4th pregnancy. With my 3 children I haven’t experienced any of these problems. One thing also I was also diagnosed to have breast CA. So, I was asked to come back next Wednesday to really confirm if I really have miscarriage. At this very uncertain moment of my life prayers

    • unwirklich admin

      I’m sorry for your possible loss and diagnosis, that is a lot of rough news to swallow. I also hope Wednesday brings some better news.

    • Anonymous

      I am curious as to what happened? I am in the same position… 8 wks preg and no heartbeat and no fetal pole seen. baby measured 8wks though and that was exactly what I was by my LMP. I go in Monday for another vag US.. with a different tech and my OB doc present. I am terrified .. yet very hopeful; I think im driving my husband crazy with how hopeful I am. its an emotional rollercoaster. This is our 4th, unplanned but I will still be devastated. 4 living children and now a miscarriage? I never though after having 4 beautiful healthy children that I would hear the words that I heard that day and then I had to go out into the waiting room and tell my husband who was waiting with 2 of our children posting baby num 5 on FB and tagging the obgyn office and ME! my heart melted when I saw him.. he had no idea.

      • Kristine perro

        I went for my first visit. I was told I was 7 weeks 5 days. Baby was seen and measured 8 weeks but they could not find a heartbeat. They scheduled me for a d&c the next day. I postpone it until Friday. It was all too much of a whirlwind at once and I couldn’t grasp what was happening and still can’t. I’m scheduled for tomorrow but looking for advice. I want to have so much hope that the tech could be wrong or the baby was not in the right position. I’m scared and not sure what to do. Any advice would help!!!

        • Life with Gremlins admin

          You always have a choice. You don’t have to have a d&c at all if you don’t want to, losses can happen naturally, and misdiagnosis do happen sometimes. I’m afraid if your scan was vaginal, at almost 8 weeks, there isn’t a super high chance this was a misdiagnosis. Not what you want to hear, I know, but I don’t want to give you false hope either. It’s not impossible, it’s just a long shot. I’m very sorry this is happening to you and your family. Wishing you well.