How likely is it that this person lied to me about a miscarriage?
February 5, 2005 11:31 PM   Subscribe

A young woman of my acquaintance told me last week that she was pregnant. (No, I'm not the father). This morning she told me that she'd miscarried. She has lied to me in the past, and I'm a bit suspicious she might have made the whole thing up. There are a couple of minor-but-strange inconsistencies in her story, which I haven't pressed her on in the interest of being supportive. We communicate mostly by instant-messenger, so cues like tone of voice and body language aren't available.

When she told me she'd miscarried, she wrote "I was using the bathroom...and there was blood...and I saw it." ("It" presumably meaning the fetus). Is that plausible? Her last period was just before Christmas so she was at most six weeks pregnant at the time, with four being more likely. Would there be a visible fetus at that point, and would it actually be ejected from the body during a miscarriage? I don't intend to castigate her, especially if there's even a remote chance that there's truth to this. I'll probably never even mention that I know she lied. I would just like to know.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total)
in short: yes. and yes, i am going strictly on anecdotal evidence, but multiple accounts...

and sometimes i don't think it's even that it's so obviously visible but that a woman can know. similar to how some women know right away, like the very instant, they've conceived. you see something and you just know it's more than a menstrual blood clot.
posted by ifjuly at 11:49 PM on February 5, 2005

It's possible, but it would be quite bloody. It would probably mostly be what's referred to as "products of conception."
posted by gramcracker at 12:05 AM on February 6, 2005

I suppose there's a chance that it's possible, but at only four weeks, it's far more likely that she'd just have really bad cramps and a slightly heavier period. There wouldn't be an "it" yet to see, and surely not an unmangled one. I mean, even a regular period passes clots the size of a quarter. A surprisingly high percentage (over 30%? stats, anyone?) of pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first month or two, and most women don't even know it happened.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:35 AM on February 6, 2005

I nursed a friend through a situation almost exactly like what you're describing. She was about 6-8 weeks pregnant, and miscarried during a visit. She did see something and knew what it was (probably because she already knew she was pregnant), though it would have been basically a larger clump and a lot of blood.
posted by frykitty at 1:02 AM on February 6, 2005

From your description, it is not possible to understand what she saw, but, yes, it would be what frykitty described. If she had taken a pregnancy test then she would be just about perfectly certain what it was. If she said she saw a fetus, then no.
posted by taz at 1:30 AM on February 6, 2005

Following up, though I'm loathe to -- been there, done that. Forgive me the graphic nature of this: if she passed something which seemed to contain tissue and everything else was obviously clotted blood without tissue,)then it's possible that she saw something containing the remains of the embryo. (It's not a fetus at that stage of gestation.) It's possible, but doesn't seem very likely, though, because even at that early stage a miscarriage is typically a pretty bloody affair.
posted by Dreama at 2:42 AM on February 6, 2005

To quote ifjuly: "yes and yes".

Just leave it be, anon? This is one where you'll never really know.
posted by reflecked at 2:51 AM on February 6, 2005

After waiting some time to tell you she was pregnant, but suddenly trusting in you so much to call you the very next week and tell you she miscarried, my first reaction would be to consider the truthfulness of her claim.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:29 AM on February 6, 2005

she could also have been honestly mistaken - if she had miscarried she may not have been in quite the mood for an analytic and dispassionate assessment of what she experienced.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:05 AM on February 6, 2005

I suppose it's possible that she had an abortion and then used a vague miscarriage story to make it easier to tell people that she's no longer pregnant.
posted by xo at 9:19 AM on February 6, 2005

My roommate had an abortion with RU-486 at 10 weeks.

She saved all the "products of conception" and showed them to me (she was a weeeeeird girl. I'm glad I'm outta there). At 10 weeks, you could see a...something. certainly not identifiable as "wow human being." At that point it's wrapped in its own little thing. You'd have to take it out of the "wrapping" to see anything.

Also, up to 50% of pregnancies are miscarried in those first few weeks. Most sexually active women miscarry at some point in their lives, though very few realize it unless they're in the habit of taking a pregnancy test on a regular basis (another former roommate of mine did this. She, too, was a weird girl. These are the kinds of things that make it so I don't live with women anymore).
posted by u.n. owen at 9:30 PM on February 6, 2005

Sometimes there is spotting during the early weeks of pregnancy. She could actually still be pregnant.
posted by cass at 6:29 AM on February 7, 2005

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