Understanding a Blighted Ovum

A blighted ovum, also known as an-embryonic pregnancy, occurs when a sac and a placenta grows but the embryo does not develop. A blighted ovum can show as a positive pregnancy because it still produces hormones. At 7-12 weeks, your body will realize that the pregnancy has not been developing well sheds tissue and blood from the uterus as a result. This tends to be upsetting to most women and there is no right way that a person can feel about a miscarriage. People react differently during a miscarriage through guilt, anger or relief. Read more on miscarriages here

Causes of a Blighted Ovum

Averagely 50% of miscarriages during the first trimester are caused by a blighted ovum. This is as a result of chromosomal abnormalities of a fertilized egg. The body experiences abnormal chromosomes in the foetus and naturally, the foetus has no chance of developing into a healthy baby. Other causes include:

  •          Poor quality of the egg or sperm
  •          Abnormal cell division
  •          Structure and an improper mix of genes

Signs and Symptoms of a Blighted Ovum

A woman may or may not show any signs and anembryonic pregnancy. It’s also important to note that can happen to any woman. Most of the time, you will first notice that something is wrong after the first scan. Below are also various signs of a blighted ovum.

  • A heavier than usual period
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • An ultrasound showing the presence of the sac but no embryo

How a Blighted Ovum is Diagnosed

Mostly, a placenta continues to grow for a while without the presence of an embryo. It is advisable to diagnose a blighted ovum by performing an ultrasound test. During the first scan, the doctor will be able to tell if something is wrong with the pregnancy. The doctor measures the sac to look for the presence of an embryo. If the pregnancy sac is at 25mm but no presence of an embryo, then a blighted ovum will be diagnosed.

Treating a Blighted Ovum

Women with a blighted ovum are treated differently, depending on the pregnancy symptoms.

  • Repeat an ultrasound – An early pregnancy can wait for a week before an ultrasound test is repeated to confirm the presence of the embryo.
  • Natural miscarriage – Having a natural miscarriage after the pregnancy hormones fall, is safe although it might take a few weeks for that to happen.
  • D&C – If a woman starts to bleed, a dilation and curettage can be done. This is to clear any uterine tissue.
  • Medication – A woman can also be given medication to enable her to expel the conception contents at home.

 It is Possible to Conceive Again After an-embryonic Pregnancy

When a miscarriage takes place, periods start and you can now try and conceive another baby then. It is advisable though, to wait for a few months so that the body can rest and get back to its normal status. You will also be able to settle emotionally before trying again. Although it naturally worries after one has had a miscarriage, most women eventually have a successful pregnancy . It is also advisable to have an early scan the next time you conceive for reassurance.



#Please note that development differs from one child to another

# Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Last reviewed January 2019 

Sources: pregnancybirthbaby, americanpregnancy, whattoexpect, babycenter

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