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Flashcards in Miscarriage Deck (18):

Define a miscarriage?

The premature loss of a fetus up to 23 weeks of pregnancy and weighing up to 500 g


What are the different types of miscarriage?

Threatened – vaginal bleeding and an ongoing pregnancy

Inevitable – the cervix is dilated

Incomplete – passage of some but not all the products of

Complete – all products of conception have been expelled from the uterus

Missed (silent) – where the fetus has died and the patient has not realised yet, products of conception may or may not have been passed.


How common are miscarriages?

15% of clinically recognised pregnancies end in miscarriage


What causes miscarriages?

Often no cause is known, but of this that are known it is usually caused by a chromosomal abnormality.

Most commonly, trisomy's monosomy's and polyploidy (wrong number of chromosomes aka 69 XXX)


What are some risk factors for miscarrying?

Increased age.

PCOS and poorly controlled diabetes.


Presence of anti phospholipid antibodies (cause a hyper-coaguable state)

Uterine abnormalities.

Maternal Infection (Rubella and CMV particularly)


Define recurrent miscarriage, how common is it and what investigations should you always do?

3 or more miscarriages which occur in succession

1% of pregnancies

TFT's + fasting glucose
Karyotype of both parents to check for a balanced reciprocal or robertson translocation (3-5%)
Maternal blood test for antiphospholipid antibodies (lupus anticoagulant and anticardiolipin antibodies.)
Thrombophilia screen

Pelvic ultrasound – to check for abnormalities of the uterus.

Hysteroscopy or laparoscopy
Luteal phase endometrial biopsy


What is the likely diagnosis and management plan?

Amenorrhoea for 2 months.
PV bleeding and cramp like abdo pain 2 days.

HR: 126 BP:90/62
Cervix dilated and products of conception (POC) is felt through OS.

Inevitable miscarriage; will either be complete or incomplete.

Patient appears shocked:
Haemorrhagic shock or cervical shock (vasovagal attack following stimulation of the dilated cervix)

Manage shock:
Cervical = remove contents from cervix, high flow O2, fluid bolus

Hemorrhagic: replace blood loss + stop bleeding + ABC


What is the likely diagnosis and management plan?

Patient comes in for 12 week scan.

Amenorrhoea for 3 months.
PV dark red bleeding 8 weeks into pregnancy.

Cervix closed

Beta-HCG +ve
No fetal heart on doppler scan. No fetus in gestational sac.
Uterus small for dates.

Ectopic preganancy or Missed miscarriage

Consider the bHCG level, typically lower in ectopic pregnancies.

Ectopic pregnancy should be some pain on movement of cervix.

Diagnostic test for ectopic = laparoscopy.

If patient is stable repeat bHCG in 48hrs, in viable pregnancy should approximately double.

Management of missed miscarriage is:
Medical: prostaglandins to stimulate uterine contraction
Surgical removal of POCs


What is the likely diagnosis and management plan?

Amenorrhoea for 3 months.
PV bleeding.

Stable, no uterine tenderness, uterine size = dates, cervix closed

Beta-HCG +ve
Fetal heart sounds on US

Threatened miscarriage.



What is the likely diagnosis and management plan?

Amenorrhoea for 2 months.
3 days ago heavy vaginal bleeding which then becomes very light, cramp like abdo pain which then resolves.

Uterine size smaller than dates, cervix

Complete miscarriage.

US Scan uterus, ensure no remaining POC.
Rule out ectopic (always have a high index of suspicion)



What is the likely diagnosis and management plan?

Amenorrhoea for 2 months.
Today heavy vaginal bleeding , cramp like abdo pain.

Uterine size smaller than dates, cervix dilated products felt in vagina.

bHCG +ve, products on US scan

Incomplete Miscarriage (risk of sepsis)

General resus (be wary of cervical shock)

Medical management (prostaglandins)/Surgical removal/Expectant

Give Anti D if mother is resus -ve

If septic (obvious signs of infection)
Manage by giving 24hrs of antibiotics followed by surgical removal.


When counselling on expectant management what information should you give the patient?

Onset, duration and magnitude of the inevitable bleeding are unpredictable.


If on US scanning there is an empty uterus in a patient who has had previously tested +ve on betaHCG what are the potential diagnoses?

How would you investigate?

Ectopic pregnancy
Complete miscarriage
Viable early pregnancy

If stable repeat bHCG after 48 hours.
Normal pregnancy the bHCG level approximately doubles every 48hrs.
Ectopic pregnancy it increases at a slower rate.
Complete miscarriage the bHCG level should be dropping.

If unsure after the second test and patient is stable repeat US in 1 week. (only if patient is reliable and can easily come to hosiptal)

Note intrauterine sac is usually visible when bHCG>1000


What are the different causes of recurrent miscarriage?

50% Idiopathic

10-15% Uterine malformations

10-15% Endocrine (luteal phase deficiency or metabolic aka diabetes/thyroid)


Note ~ 35% of couples with recurrent miscarriage will have lost pregnancies by chance and fall into the idiopathic category. They will have a 75% chance of a successful pregnancy with no therapeutic intervention.

For this reason empirical treatment is not used.


What is antiphospoholipid syndrome?

Antiphospholipid syndrome is the presence of anticardiolipin or lupus anticoagulant antibodies on 2 separate occasions with one of the following:

- 3 or more consecutive miscarriages before week 10
- 1 miscarriage after 10 weeks
- 1 or more births of a morphologically normal foetus at less than 34 weeks associated with severe pre-eclampsia or placental insufficiency
-Venous thrombosis


What is the significance of antiphospholipid syndrome?

Cause of 5-10% of recurrent miscarriage and is very treatable.

Causes a hypercoaguable state therefore treat with aspirin and low molecular weight heparin as soon as viability is confirmed.


When doing parental karyotyping what is being looked for and what is it?

3-5% of recurrent miscarriages.

Balanced reciprocal or robertson's translocations.

Robertson's translocation's.
The carrier is phenotypically normal. However during meiosis several of the chromosomes undergo whole arm translocations with the paired chromosome being lost. Therefore leaving unbalanced gametes.

Balanced reciprocal translocations:
Is when there is a translocation between to pairs of chromosomes often this does not cause problem but on certain occasions it can cause a foetus to not be viable.


Outline a general management plan for miscarriage?

Admit to hospital if: ectopic/septic/heavy bleeding

Products of conception in the cervical os cause pain, bleeding and vasovagal shock and should be removed on speculum examination.

Fever, must make sure not septic

Anti D to all non sensitised Rh-ve women:
-Greater than 12 weeks and bleeding
-Less than 12 weeks needing uterine evacuation