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Induced fetal demise


Expect to be at the clinic for up to 3 hours.

You will be told if you need this procedure, which involves an injection through your abdomen to stop the fetal heartbeat. If you feel particularly anxious about the procedure we can provide you with Diazepam, but you will be unable to drive yourself home after taking it.

A thin needle is placed through your abdomen into the fluid surrounding the pregnancy
or the fetal heart, and a medicine to stop the heartbeat is injected. It can take several
hours for the heartbeat and fetal movements to stop if the injection was made into the fluid around the pregnancy.

You are awake during this procedure which takes between 10 and 15 minutes. If you are having dilatation and evacuation, Dilapan may be placed into the cervix (neck of the womb) at the same time as this procedure.

Please ask us if you have any questions, and we will explain this procedure in as much
detail as you need.

VIDEO: Feticide


Risks and complications

Significant, unavoidable or frequently occurring

These are usually easy to treat and rarely have any long-term health effects.

  • Mild discomfort at needle insertions site
  • Need for multiple attempts at insertion (2 in 100)
  • Amniotic fluid leakage (1 in 100)
  • Nausea and vomiting

These may require transfer to hospital or surgical procedures, and may have serious long-term health effects.

  • Maternal bowel injury (this is rare)
  • Chorioamnionitis: severe infection in the blood, potentially including death (1 in 1,000)
  • Early or unexpected onset of labour

Extra procedures that may be necessary

  • Surgical termination of pregnancy or uterine aspiration
  • Blood transfusion
  • Laparoscopy or laparotomy - operation to look inside the abdomen
  • Hysterectomy - surgical removal of the womb (very rare)

Side effects specific to digoxin

Headache, diarrhoea, arrhythmias, blockade of the electrical pathways which control the pumping action of the heart (heart block), loss of appetite, tiredness, confusion, visual disturbances.