Do You Need A Second Opinion?
"Something as serious as a miscarriage
would never be misdiagnosed, right?"
This is a question I have heard time and again from women who are wondering if they could be misdiagnosed. In fact, until recently, just about every site dedicated to miscarriage and pregnancy topics online denied that miscarriages were ever misdiagnosed.
Yes, miscarriages are misdiagnosedand they are not as rare as once thought. Second opinions have saved a number of babies now. Want to know more?
I believe every woman deserves to have no doubt before having her pregnancy ended
I am not a medical professional. The information I share is meant to supplement the information given you by your doctor. If you feel your doctor is not doing enough for you or not willing to listen to your concerns, I strongly encourage you to take what you've learned here and get a second opinion.
Have you ever been misdiagnosed?
Why Get a Second Opinion?
Several years ago, CNN reported that according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, doctors are wrong 10% to 15% of the time. That should concern everybody.
Oftentimes a miscarriage is a miscarriage. However, if you do not feel certain or are not showing signs of miscarrying, this page is for you
Before I go on, let me state, I admire physicians greatly. I have the utmost respect for the jobs they do and the lives they save. That said, though, most physicians do have to see a good number of patients on a daily basis. As a result, you may not get the time you need with your physician and they may be a bit more apt, at times, to rush a diagnosis.
With my first miscarriage scare, everybody seemed to believe I was miscarrying. Who could blame them? I was bleeding heavily at 12 weeks. The nurse and doctor at the ER, who were wonderful by the way, prepared me to miscarry. When women bleed during the first trimester, most people assume miscarriage and rightly so since bleeding is a major symptom in miscarriages. However, what most people seem to forget is that up to 1/3 of all women bleed during pregnancy.
We have discovered on the Misdiagnosed Miscarriage site that many women, after being given a diagnosis of miscarriage, feel rushed to end their pregnancies. Before many of them are even comfortable with the diagnosis, doctors are pushing them to take Misoprostol or have surgery. A number of women have also expressed concern that their doctors do not really listen to or downplay their concerns. For this reason, unless there is an immediate need to end an pregnancy (i.e. ectopic or molar pregnancy or signs of infection appearing), a second opinion is a viable option and has saved many babies.
Second opinions are an acceptable route in the medical community. Not only can another physician verify the diagnosis, the second opinion can reassure you that you are not acting hastily in ending your pregnancy if you are indeed going to miscarry. Often, women have found the second doctor is more willing to take a wait-and-see approach.
If you feel your physician is scaring you with what can happen if you wait (and, yes, some physicians do do this), keep in mind what the American Pregnancy Association says:
"This is a decision only you can make for yourself. Most doctors do not recommend a D&C for an early pregnancy loss. It is believed that a woman's body is capable of passing tissue on its own and there is no need for an invasive surgical procedure with a risk of complications. A D&C would, however, be beneficial if you were planning on having a pathologist examine the tissues to determine a reason for the miscarriage. Some women feel a D&C procedure helps with closure, mentally and physically"
We have had some women get second, third and even fourth opinions before discovering they were misdiagnosed. Unless there is some complication (i.e. suspected ectopic or molar pregnancy, infection, etc...), many women do choose to wait out the diagnosis. While waiting does not increase the chance of being misdiagnosed, waiting does allow you to know with all certainty this is a miscarriage before ending the pregnancy. Over the last few years, I have noticed that women who are rushed into ending their pregnancies right away often struggle with more grief and more doubt later. Women whose doctors allowed them to take a wait-and-see approach, often seem to cope and heal more quickly from their miscarriages. And, of course, we have the women who have ended up being misdiagnosed.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, doctors are wrong 10% to 15% of the time.
Steps to Getting a Second Opinion
- - - Contact your health insurance provider.
You'll want to find out if they will cover a visit to another physician. Also, they may be able to recommend another physician for you to see.
- - - Ask family, friends and co-workers for recommendations.
You may know somebody who has a physician they really like and trust. You do not have to divulge why you are looking for a new doctor. Just let the person know, you'd like to find a new physician.
- - - Check out ACOG's Physician Database
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. has an online physician directory.
- - - Ask your physician for a referral to another physician
This option is not always as popular. Sometimes women feel they'll get the same diagnosis if the two physicians work together in any way. Some women have gotten good results, though, just seeing another physician in the same office.
Have you ever gotten a second opinion on a diagnosis?
When Seeing Another Doctor
what do you share?
Many women want to know how much they should tell the second doctor. Here are what women have shared with me:
- Some women do not tell the second physician about their diagnosis. They want a fresh, non-biased perspective.
- Some women bring a copy or have results from various tests (i.e. hCG levels, ultrasounds, etc...) sent to the second physician. In many cases, the diagnosis will be made known as well.
- Some women just choose to explain to the doctor the first diagnosis and why they feel they need a second opinion.
The information you provide is up to you. Just listening to women, often the third choice seems to be best. When the second physician hears that somebody felt rushed or didn't have their concerns heard, they seem to be more open to listening.
The best thing you can can prepare for any appointment is to write down ahead of time your list of concerns and questions. Often, we may forget something we wanted to say and ask our doctor about. Having a prepared list will help you get the answers you need.
Some Amazing Stories
We have collected a number of stories of misdiagnosed miscarriages. Here are just a few of the stories on The Misdiagnosed Miscarriage from women who got second or third opinions before finding their babies:
Aelich's story - At seven and a half weeks, Aelich was able to see her baby with a beating heart via the transvaginal ultrasound. She began seeing another doctor and, at eleven weeks, they could not find the baby on the ultrasound and was told she had most likely reabsorbed the baby and they should do a D&C to remove any remaining tissue. Rather than have the D&C, she contacted her first doctor and a trained ultrasound technician found the baby with a beating heart almost right away.
Liv's Story- At eight weeks LMP (last menstrual period), Liv went to the ER due to cramping where she was diagnosed with a blighted ovum and told she should have a D&C. After waiting several weeks for a natural miscarriage, Liv decided to get a second opinion. They were amazed to see a baby with a beating heart.
Becca's Story - At seven and nine weeks, Becca turned down the D&C procedure with her first doctor. At ten and a half weeks, her second-opinion doctor found her baby with a wonderfully beating heart.
These are only a few of our most recent stories. While they do not mean you or somebody you know has been misdiagnosed, they do show that women should be certain they are indeed miscarrying before ending their pregnancies.
IMPORTANT: Misdiagnosed Miscarriage Warning
After eight years of trying to get misdiagnosed miscarriages in the news, we're finally seeing results. Here is an article by Time Magazine.
A snippet from that article:
As if the worry over potential miscarriage weren't stressful enough for newly pregnant women, research released Friday shows that current guidelines for using ultrasound to determine that a pregnancy has ended may not always be accurate.
The four new studies looked at U.K. ultrasound specifications, but when the findings are extrapolated to U.S. guidelines, the researchers suggest 1 in 23 women diagnosed with miscarriage could still have a viable pregnancy.
On the Misdiagnosed Miscarriage site, we believe that that figure might be much higher. For women diagnosed with a blighted ovum, something like one in five may be much more accurate.
I believe every woman deserves to have no doubt before having her pregnancy ended.
Important New Guidelines for Diagnosing a Miscarriage
The UK is the first to acknowledge that misdiagnosed miscarriages are indeed a problem. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has revised its guidelines. If your gestational sac is more than 25mm and/or the CRL is 7mm or more, you should wait a week to verify (if there are no complications). If the measurements are less, you are too early to diagnose. For more information (and something to take to your doctor), please, see my new page:
Can you think of anything that has been left out of this page? Do you have any recommendations or suggestions for getting a second opinion? Would you just like to leave a comment?
If I don't reply to you here, please feel free to e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa on January 12, 2017:
If you see the baby on the ultrasound at 7 weeks but no heartbeat, could it just be too early to see the heartbeat? Or is definitely it a miscarriage? I'm scheduled for a D&E in 3 days....
Kay (author) on January 15, 2015:
If the pregnancy is viable, often one week after the yolk sac is viewed, the baby will be viewed. Just make sure it is an actual ultrasound tech doing that next ultrasound. Doctors seem to be more prone to error when it comes to ultrasound.
rits on January 14, 2015:
I m 30 years old in my 6 weeks of pregnancy. I had usg tvs and doc told that according to my lmp it should be 7 weeks but usg showed 6 wks 2 days with large yolk sac and no cardiac activity. Mt doc advised me usg after 1 week and also told me to pray to God. Also I had D and C in may 2014 for blighted ovum at 6 weeks. I m tensed for mt next usg what would be the result. Is there any hope of a viable pregnancy?
rainesviking07 on November 28, 2012:
@anonymous: I am currently going thru the same thing I wanted to know how did everything turn out?
haileyus on September 24, 2012:
I was 12 weeks this week but you never know what week you are really and I went to have my first scan and it read 9weeks but had no heartbeat or blood flow and that day I went and had a d&c I regret it so much. I wish I waited until I just started to bleed etc cause none of that started yet! I have never been so hurt and so want to know I have done the right thing but I know I didn't.
katespade on August 28, 2012:
Do you actually have cervical cancer, or one of its precursors? This is an important distinction. Current practice tends to over-treat women with abnormal cells, dysplasia, hyperplasia, and in situ carcinomas.
2ndth0ughtz on July 26, 2012:
My first appointment the midwife said according to the ultrasound I was 10 weeks and the baby's heart was beating VERY strong. At my 15 week check up yesterday the Dr told me I lost the baby at around 10wks 4 days. It was a speedy diagnosis and I wanted to get out of there just as fast. I felt movement all those weeks, symptoms, I just didn't get it. They scheduled my D&C for this Monday...but I am having 2nd thoughts and I'm going to see if I can get a 2nd opinion. I told myself maybe it's just denial, but even still I don't want to make a choice before I'm ready to let go. :-\
anonymous on June 13, 2012:
Great work. The doctors do not know it all. Some do their best, but their best is many times not enough. Only God saves! To every one going through bleeding in pregnancy, try God, Try Jesus. Just pray to Him in surrender, He created you and knows how to ensure your baby's safety.and your's.
anonymous on May 31, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi Shannon, I know you posted this a while back but I was curious as to what happened with your pregnancy. I am in a similar situation (11 weeks according to LMP and 2 ultrasounds, 2 weeks apart, show normal gestational sac & baby but no heartbeat has been detected). This is my 4th pregnancy & I have no history of miscarriage nor have I had any symptoms of miscarriage. Just had my hcg levels tested today & will again in 48 hours. Needless to say, I am worried. I hope you had a positive outcome.
anonymous on May 04, 2012:
@anonymous: Shannon,I have gone through the same thing recently. I went in for ultrasound at 7 weeks and was told I was having identical twins both with strong heart beats. I went in 1 1/2 weeks later for another and they said I had lost them. The ultrasound tech was extremely fast at what she did. My husband and I both feel like she didn't spend any time on actually looking. My husband could see the screen and from what he could tell she did no measurements. It's been 2 weeks with no signs of miscarriage (I've had 2 in the past and 1 successful pregnacy). I still have all the signs of pregnancy (tiredness, turned off food, sore breasts, etc). What was the outcome of yours?
anonymous on January 05, 2012:
My blood test shows ectopic pregnancy of 7000hcg. I was rushed to the ER. The Er says I wa snot pregnant. i am still feeling sick and my body feel like I am still prego. I am confused. I have to go for an sonogram next week..
anonymous on September 03, 2011:
@anonymous: Hello I just happened upon this site and was curious what happened with you and the pregnancy?Thanks
anonymous on January 29, 2011:
i think this page is very helpful you have given me hope i had a miscarriage in oct and im pregnant again according to u/s im 4.5 weeks but my doctor told me it look like a blighted ovum im not sure about and something just doesn't feel right. like i said thank you! you have really given me hope.
dermatologist on November 22, 2010:
This is very good information, but you didn't write nothing about ultrasound technician salary. For more information about ultrasound technician salary visit siteultrasound technician salary
anonymous on December 07, 2009:
I have been possiably diagnosed with a miscarriage at 6 weeks but they are not sure yet.This site has given me hope for the possibliity of my baby being okay. thank you everyone
anonymous on October 06, 2009:
I'm at 10 weeks and had a transvaginal ultrasound this Monday. LMP was 8/03. Gestational sac and baby are present, but doc was unable to find a heartbeat. Doc is measuring fetus at 8 weeks development, but since she couldn't find a heartbeat, she's recommending D&C this weekend, pending second ultrasound later this week. I have a tilted uterus, and doc had a difficult time locating the pregnancy at all. I trust my doc, and I know she's doing her job, but I'm curious about others' experience at 10 weeks. I'm reluctant to go ahead with a D&C and prefer to miscarry naturally, if that's the inevitable outcome. I've had NO bleeding, no pain, no cramping, and my pregnancy symptoms were very mild to begin with. I'm 37 years old, and this is my first pregnancy.Thanks!
anonymous on September 23, 2009:
First day of LMP was 8/2/09, positive test 8/27/09. Went to the ER on 9/10, bleeding and cramping like a period - diagnosed w/ completed spontaneous miscarriage. I had the following Hcg levels: 485 on 9/9, 647 on 9/11 and 1878 on 9/15. Repeated hcg on 9/21 and they were 4294. Intravaginal Sonogram on 9/22 saw no pregnancy. Doctor suggested ectopic. Do I have time for a second opinion. I have no bleeding, no pain, except minor cramping sometimes after emptying bladder. I need to get back to my life, but if the baby is there, but just can't be seen then it can be born with serious health problems if I take the medicine to treat the ectopic. My doctor said that a baby should be seen when the numbers reach 2000. Based on stories I have come across, babies have not shown up until past 8 weeks, but i don't know if the numbers were low in those cases
anonymous on May 27, 2009:
[in reply to Shakkia] Hi,I'm going through something VERY similar and I was wondering what the outcome was...Thanks,Ashley
anonymous on April 20, 2009:
I"m going through a similar situation. I started spotting a fews days ago and it's gotten heavier. I went to the ER day before yesterday and i was told that they could see the sac but no fetus and that I could be having a "threatened abortion". I went for an ultra sound today and found the same thing. I'm scheduled to see my OB/GYN tomorrow to go over the results. I'm really hoping that it's a misdiagnozed miscarriage, as I've had a molar pregnancy in the past, and I just can't believe I'm miscarrying again. I really do hope your second opinion is good news. Please share the results.[in reply to Shakkia]
anonymous on March 30, 2009:
On March 24th, 2009, I got the terrible news that I HAD NO BABY inside me, my Doctor said that I had what is called a Blighten Ovum. I had no idea what to think, or say. I had never heard of such a thing. I was totally lost. All I could do is cry. The doctor said according to my sac I was suppose to be 5 weeks pregnant, but there was just a sac with no baby in it. The doctor recommened that I get a D&C asap. I went home that day and got ready for work. All I could think about is "where is my baby". I broke the news to family and close friends, like me; they had no idea what I was talking about and they were just as surprised and shocked by the whole situation. After a sleepless night and a talk to my husband we decided to get a second opinion. We haven't went yet but we are in the process. I was doing some research and came across many articles stating the misdiagnosed blighten ovum. I read them and I am so glad I did. This articles give me hope. I hope my story is a success.
Kate Phizackerl1 on March 18, 2009:
Difficukt subject handled well
MikeMoore LM on March 18, 2009:
Well done! Very informative and I had a good time reading it. I never knew so many people were misdiagnosed, but now that I think about it, it makes sense.