Q. Is it safe to wait for more than 12 hours for normal delivery of a dead fetus?

Answered by
Dr. R Balakrishnan Menon
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 09, 2017 and last reviewed on: Oct 13, 2021

Hello doctor,

My sister is 26 weeks pregnant, and today they found that the baby's heartbeat has stopped. It has already been more than 12 hours since the baby passed away, but the doctors are waiting for normal delivery. My sister has a fever now. Is it safe for to wait? The doctors are trying to convince us for this.



Welcome to

Sorry to hear about your sister's loss.

  • Please do not worry about the treatment that is going on, your doctor is doing the right thing. I know all of you are mentally disturbed about the loss, but this is the right thing. This is the tough part to explain to the mother and relatives after fetal demise.
  • The baby is in an airtight sac and as long as the water is not broken, there is no chance of any infections entering the uterus and affecting the mother. Dead baby can stay there for weeks without causing any problem. As it is 26 weeks, there will not be any coagulation problems. The body will slowly start to push the baby out, that is what the doctor is waiting for.
  • The fever could be because of the long hours of crying or reduced water intake by the mother or if she has had repeated vaginal examination. I would suggest giving tablet Misoprostol 400 mcg vaginally, every four hours. Along with a good antibiotic cover. This medicine will soften the cervix and induce the uterus to start contracting. After 3 to 6 doses maximum, she will expel the fetus.
  • Do not worry about infection or bleeding problem. They are not so significant, as long as the doctor or staff who are examining her and administering her are using strict aseptic measures.

Hope I have clarified your query, do write back. All the best.

For more information consult an obstetrician and gynaecolgoist online -->

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