How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

I just saw on the news that this pregnant woman's was dead. A doctor said that a pregnant woman can carry a dead baby up to seven days. Is that true?

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

(In reply to noot)

You can actually carry it longer than that (up to 2 weeks from what I understand). It depends on where you are in the pregnancy. When my wife miscarried, she was early on (less than 16 weeks), so she came in for a D&C withing a couple of weeks. Unlike some, the fetusus just died and weren't "expelled" - so they had to be removed.

If you are later in pregnancy, you can't have a D&C, so you essentially have to deliver the stillborn child - the docs give a bit of time for it to happen naturally (while its emotionally more taxing, its safer for mom), if not, they'll induce labour to have it delievered. I've never heard of a stillborn child (that was known to be stillborn before delivery) having to be delivered by c-section.

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

(In reply to CanDoc)

I'm sorry to hear about your wife's miscarriage.

I'm wondering if it's possible to carry a dead fetus for 4 weeks in the first trimester?

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

(In reply to CanDoc)First, I'm sorry for your loss. I had a miscarriage 1 yr ago (fetus alive at 8 weeks when bleeding began) no heartrate detected a few days later, I was in labor for close to 4 weeks!! The original doctor I saw who confirmed no heart rate was great! His wife too had just lost a baby so he could relate. When I went in 2-3 weeks into labor process...wanting a D & C (as first doc told me to do and promised would be done if it didn't happen naturally) I was refused! This was one of my worse meetings with doctors. I meant to file a complaint, but I have been sick since then and just couldn't get the energy to do so. I agree that natural is safer... but 4 weeks?? I believe ultimately it should be the woman's choice. I am apparently still angry about this, didn't realize I was til now. You can have an abortion no problem on a living fetus....but cannot make the decision to remove a dead one? Not right. Guess I just met a bad doctor that day. By the way, the natural process finally occured a few days later - I think it was the drugs that did it. (percocet and demorol injections)?? could that be?

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

(In reply to noot)Noot -what do you mean by "carry"? Do you mean the baby remained alive for 7 days????? I always thought, if you were pregnant and died, the fetus will die and remain where it is. I'm confused by your question.

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

I'm sorry to hear about
>your wife's miscarriage.

I'm wondering if it's
>possible to carry a dead fetus for 4 weeks in the
>first trimester?

Is it possible? Sure - just not likley or safe. If the patient had a "missed abortion" (medical term for miscarrage where the fetus isn't expelled naturally), but didn't seek medical attention after the symptoms appeared they could carry it for a long time. You risk getting sick though, as the dead tissue (the fetus) is a potential source of infection.

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

>Sorry to hear that, CanDoc...

(In reply to Plexus1)

Thanks. It was more upsetting at the time, but we leared that neither fetus (they were twins) were viable (meaning they couldn't live outside the uterus), so while I would never wish for it to happen, ultimately it saved everyone (including them) even more heartache. We've since had 2 children - perfectly heathy.

Misarrage is NOT uncommon- it happens in about 50% of all pregnancies! Its sad, but something that is expected.

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

>I just saw on the news that this pregnant woman's
>was dead. A doctor said that a pregnant woman
>can carry a dead baby up to seven days. Is that
>true?

(In reply to noot) I think I completly misunderstood your question. If you are asking if it's possible for a woman to carry a dead fetus for 7 days- answer is yes. I carried for almost 4 weeks. For some reason I thought you were saying the woman was dead and baby remained alive for 7 days? Note to self: cognitive bad today lol.

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

(In reply to cl9306)

I do apologize for that. Would you believe that I'm on a stationary bike surfing the net? I know, weird, huh? I type and cycle at the same time at night after the kids go to bed. That's why, sometimes, the things I type don't make a lot of sense.

The woman's baby died. She was 38 weeks pregnant and the docs sent her home to come and get the still born delivered another day.

...and yes, Candoc, I was asking about a missed miscarriage. I think I had a missed miscarriage as well. I think the dead feotus was not expelled until 4 weeks after he/she died.

I thought I was 11 weeks pregnant but the docs told me the baby was only 7 weeks. I did have severe back pain about 4 weeks before I started spotting.

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

The woman's baby died. She was 38 weeks pregnant and the docs sent her home to come and get the still born delivered another day.

~~~Should have read...

This woman was 38 weeks pregnant. It was discovered that her baby had died for because the cord had somehow wrapped around his/her neck. She was sent home from the hospital. The reason was because they had to set up a time for her to be induced another day. I guess the hospital was short staffed. She did not want to wait, she wanted to have the baby delivered as soon as possible. She was complaining about that on the news.

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

I was asking about a missed miscarriage.
>I think I had a missed miscarriage as well. I
>I think the dead feotus was not expelled until 4
>weeks after he/she died.

I thought I was 11
>weeks pregnant but the docs told me the baby was
>only 7 weeks. I did have severe back pain about
>4 weeks before I started spotting.

Noot - at that time, they would only be able to tell the age of the fetus by size on ultrasound. Its possible that whatever the reason that cause the pregnancy to terminate was also caused the fetus to be smaller than expected - so its possible the fetus was actually older than 7 weeks - but was just smaller than expected..

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

(In reply to CanDoc)

Oops - the other thing is that its possible your dates were off by a week or so as well - that's not uncommon...

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

(In reply to noot) Hey noot, I have a friend who had the misfortune of going through this not once but twice! minus cord wrapped around neck. Boh my boys had the cord wrapped, guess that's common - both premies, during labor their heart rate would dip to dangerous levels (probably due to the cord) I guess I should be thankful that it didn't turn out like this woman. I wonder if it's an option to have a C-section in the case of stillbirth in late pregnancy. I don't think I'd have the strenght to deliver a baby I knew was dead, delivering my 2 boys was difficult enough. And to think my friend had to do it twice, so sad. Candoc maybe you can answer that question...would a C-section be an option?

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

I wonder if
>it's an option to have a C-section in the case of
>stillbirth in late pregnancy. I don't think I'd
>have the strenght to deliver a baby I Candoc maybe you can answer that
>question...would a C-section be an option?

It is an option but its not as safe as a regular delivery. While it is emotionally difficult, as a physician we always advocate (or at least are supposed to) for the safest treatment. A C-section has a potentially higher risk of complictions, particularly when you've now removed the risk to the fetus from a regular delivery.

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

(In reply to CanDoc)There is also a situation called a blighted ovum sorry for the mispelling. Where a sac can develop but no baby. It is a frustrating situation because before 16 weeks there is not alot they can do for you. I had two missed abortions back to back one at 13 weeks one at 8 weeks.
Usually all we can tell before twelve weeks is a heartbeat with ultrasound. Blood tests for beta HCG are a bit more accurate if used in conjunction with the ultrasound.

Re: How long can a dead fetus be 'carried' by a woman

(In reply to CanDoc)Thanks!

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