Friday, April 25, 2014

Misdiagnosed Miscarriage? The UK Has Changed their Guidelines. Your Doctor Needs to Take Note.

Several years ago, I followed with great interested the reports of misdiagnosed miscarriages in Ireland.  Over the years, I've talked with women in Ireland who have felt pressured to end their pregnancies too early.  After several women ended up finding their babies, the press took note and a health scandal was all the buzz. 

Now, truthfully, doctors in Ireland weren't any worse than doctors in England or the U.S. or Australia or any of the other countries from which I hear from women quite frequently.  But, misdiagnosed miscarriages did make the news and, in a country that seriously frowns on abortions, this was big news.

Here is an example of one news story: 
Babies may have died after miscarriage misdiagnoses

I, along with many other women, have eagerly waited to see what changes the medical community would make in response to this scandal.  I decided to see what changes have been made and found these newer guidelines from December 2012:
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists  CG154 Ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage: full guideline(downloadable as a pdf).     
I can think of so many posts I could make on these guidelines.  For today, I'd like to concentrate on one flow chart in particular and focus on empty-looking gestational sacs.
(click on image to view larger)

Two things stand out here.

First, unless the gestational sac is measuring 25mm or more, doctors should wait seven more days for a follow-up ultrasound. 

Second, if the gestational sac is indeed measuring 25mm or greater, one of two options is recommended.

A)  Perform a scan seven or more days later before verifying
B)  Seek a second opinion.

These guidelines are from 2012 but we on the Misdiagnosed Miscarriage site have been suggesting these options to women for a number of years.

I truly believe that if all doctors followed these guidelines, most viable pregnancies would never be misdiagnosed.  We still have misdiagnosed miscarriages due to bleeding and suspected ectopic pregnancies but the vast majority are due to empty sacs. 

So, what can you do if your doctor is giving you no hope due to an empty-looking sac?

First, print out this chart.  Go to the link and get the full-sized chart.  Take it to your doctor.  Your doctor may not know about the misdiagnosed miscarriage scandal in Ireland.  Standards are changing.  Don't wait for your country to have its own scandal.  Take charge of your pregnancy and discuss these guidelines with your physician.  These standards will absolutely save many viable pregnancies.

As always, if you are going through a miscarriage scare, (((HUGS)))


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No Heartbeat or Baby seen at Seven Weeks? Finally, the Medical Community Recognizes it Might Be Because of Your Tilted Uterus

Okay, this excited me.  I can't believe what I'm reading from the American Pregnancy Association!

If an ultrasound is done at 6 to 7 weeks and a heartbeat is not detected, does that mean there is a problem?
No it does not mean there is a problem. The heartbeat may not be detected for reasons that include: tipped uterus, larger abdomen, or inaccurate dating with last menstrual period.

When I had my blighted ovum scare, there was absolutely nothing I could find online about misdiagnosed miscarriages.  I found denials that they ever happen.  I found literature discussing how accurate first trimester ultrasounds are and that babies are always seen by seven weeks at the latest.  Even on miscarriage boards, women tried to convince me to just have the D&C so that I could move on.  One miscarriage board administrator even messaged me to tell me miscarriages were NEVER misdiagnosed. 

Fast forwarding past my misdiagnosed miscarriage and sharing my story online.  I started receiving emails from women wondering if they might be misdiagnosed and then finding out that they were!  Over time, I started seeing a pattern.  Not only were many of these women eight or nine weeks (with some being even further along than that!) but the vast majority had a tilted uterus.

I went on an email writing frenzy sharing what I had learned with researchers all over the world.  Many did not return my emails.  Some very kindly told me I was mistaken:  A tipped uterus wouldn't make a difference because first trimester ultrasounds were the most accurate.  I did have a couple of researchers who first told me there was no link and then later emailed to say something along the lines of, "Y'know, after thinking about it, I did have this one case..." or "My colleague just had this one case where he really believed it was a miscarriage."    Nobody really bought into the tilted uterus thing though.  As for me, I had no doubt. 

Fast forward to today.  I'm reading this page from the American Pregnancy Association and THERE IT IS.  Reasons include a tipped uterus. 

You don't even know how amazing that was to read.  Nobody wanted to do the research but over the years we've collected so many stories of women misdiagnosed due to a tilted uterus.  The medical community is listening.  Your stories are making a difference!  How many more babies will be saved now because more and more doctors will delay requesting that D&C. 

This is truly exciting stuff!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Blighted Ovum CANNOT Be Diagnosed at only Six Weeks!

Let me just start by saying this:

A blighted ovum should not be diagnosed before nine weeks at the earliest!

I believe this wholeheartedly because at the Misdiagnosed Miscarriage site, many women were told they had a blighted ovum at eight weeks or before and, then, at nine weeks, they found the baby! 

Of course, this doesn't happen all the time but, because it does happen, I firmly believe that any doctor who diagnoses a blighted ovum before nine weeks is diagnosed too soon.

Now, that said, this last week alone, two women posted who had turned down D&Cs and found their babies.  Both women were only six weeks along.

Joanne's Story

Sonia's Story

I really believe these doctors were beyond irresponsible.  I understand why a doctor will suggest a D&C after seven weeks.  The ultrasound literature is wrong and indicates that at seven weeks, if a baby is not seen, it is a blighted ovum.  THIS IS WRONG!  Just want to make sure you understand that.  If I had listened to my doctor and had my D&C at seven weeks, my daughter wouldn't be here (and, if I'd listened to my doctor and had it at eight weeks, she wouldn't be here).  We're trying to get the word out there and there are doctors who are listening and finally research coming out showing that seven weeks is too early to diagnose.

That said, though, there is absolutely no excuse for a doctor to diagnose a blighted ovum at six weeks.  Unless there is a serious emergency, there is no reason to have a D&C for a blighted ovum at only six weeks.

If your doctor is diagnosing a blighted ovum at six weeks, you need a new doctor.  These are the doctors that worry me most.  These are the doctors who have very likely misdiagnosed other miscarriages and ended viable pregnancies. 

If you are diagnosed with a blighted ovum at six weeks, please, find a new doctor and stay monitored.  If you do end up finding your baby, you might want to consider filing a complaint.  You may save another baby's life.

As always, if you are going through a misdiagnosed scare right now, (((hugs)))

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Stories from Women Who Turned Down a D&C for Miscarriage and Later Found Their Babies!

Over the years on the Misdiagnosed Miscarriage forum, the one message that appears time and again is


Today, I've spent some time reading some of our misdiagnosed stories and if doctors had just waited until nine weeks to diagnose that empty sac, the vast majority of those women would never have had to post on our site.

Far too many women, myself included, had to turn down a D&C or medicated miscarriage before we found our babies.  I always wonder (and many women have asked), how many mothers have let their doctors talk them into the D&C before nine weeks? 

While there is always a possibility the doctor is correct and the pregnancy is indeed a blighted ovum, if there is still hope, the pregnancy should not be ended before nine weeks.

We have hundreds of stories on our site, but take a look at a few stories from women who would have lost their babies if they just didn't say, "No, thank you," to ending the pregnancy:

My own story:

When a Blighted Ovum is not a Blighted Ovum

Some of our most recent stories (at the time I'm posting this):

These are only a few of the many stories we have collected so far.  We can say, without a doubt, doctors are ending pregnancies too early.  If you are not yet nine weeks and there are no serious complications, ask to wait out your diagnosis.  It won't be easy but you don't want to look back a year down the road and ask yourself why you didn't wait those extra weeks.  You deserve to know with 100% certainty and if you are not yet nine weeks, there is still hope. 
As always, (((hugs))) to you if you are going through this scare.