Blighted Ovum

Blighted Ovum


What is a Blighted Ovum

Anembryonic gestation is a pathology of pregnancy in which there is no ovum inside the embryo. It means that the embryo is not formed or stopped at the earliest stages of development. Anembryonic gestation is often called missed abortion or non-viable pregnancy. Typically, anembryonic gestation is diagnosed, if the pregnancy is interrupted before the 6-th week.

Usually, a blighted ovum is accidental, most women can have a normal pregnancy in the future.

Blighted Ovum Symptoms

Blighted ovum is often asymptomatic, it has all signs of a normal pregnancy: enlargement of the uterus, toxemia, breast tenderness, lack of menstruation. Pathology is normally revealed during a routine ultrasound, which renders the absence of embryo in the egg, or its early stagnation Spontaneous abortion is sometimes a sign of blighted ovum.

Causes of Blighted Ovum

Causes of blighted ovum are still not fully understood by scientists. It is believed that most frequently pregnancy is broken for genetic reasons. Thus, if parents have wrong chromosome set, pregnancy cannot end happily. The unfortunate combination of parental genes also leads to failure.

For example, a pregnancy that occurred based on the combination of "a healthy egg + abnormal sperm" or "healthy sperm + unhealthy egg" is doomed to death in the vast majority of cases.

Other reasons:

  • the defeat of the embryo by acute viral or bacterial infections at an early stage of pregnancy, inflammatory process;
  • the influence of radiation or toxic substances at the stage of fetal anlage;
  • hormonal disorders;
  • bad habits: smoking, alcohol or drugs.


blighted ovum ultrasound

Picture: blighted ovum ultrasound at 11 weeks.

Reliable diagnostics of a blighted ovum is possible with the combined approach. A pelvic examination may diagnose a mismatch of the size of the uterus and pregnancy period. Thus, in the case of a blighted ovum, the uterus is always smaller than the pregnancy period requires.

Ultrasound pelvic examination can reveal the absence of fetal heart beat or ovum without the embryo. Hormone levels blood test will confirm or disprove the stop of progressive growth of pregnancy hormone HCG (choriogonadotropin), typical for a normal pregnancy.

Treatment of Blighted Ovum

Unfortunately, the only solution in the case of a blighted ovum is abortion. Sometimes the organism itself rejects the fetus due to changing the hormonal background. If this does not happen, and the pregnancy has not yet exceeded certain deadlines, it is interrupted through medical abortion.

However, in most cases, the gynecologist still recommends curettage (scraping the uterus under general anesthesia). Subsequent tactics include the appointment of antibiotic therapy and medications that reduce the uterus. 1-2 weeks after these events, a woman should undergo an ultrasound in order to assess the condition of the uterine cavity.

IMPORTANT: blighted ovum can occur with each woman (according to statistics to 20 % of women are facing this problem). Paradoxically, this is the case when there is a blessing in disguise. Nature takes care of the healthy breed, tearing away an embryo that is, most likely, sick and unviable.

Pregnancy After Blighted Ovum

Fortunately, after one blighted ovum, a vast majority of women have no problems with getting pregnant again and giving birth to a healthy child. However, couples with a history of blighted ovum must approach conception more thoughtfully and carefully.

Thus, the following pregnancy should be scheduled not earlier than 3-6 months after the blighted ovum before conceiving, you must pass the following stages:

  • medical examination, correction of the identified variances;
  • the invigoration of the both spouses’ organisms (a balanced diet, vitamin therapy, exclusion of harmful factors);
  • psychological help.

Fact: up to 90 % of patients who had one blighted ovum in the past, are able to conceive again and give birth to healthy children. If miscarriages happened 2 times or more, it is probably the case of habitual miscarriage. In this case, the couple needed a more detailed examination and treatment.

Video: What is a Blighted Ovum.

One Comment

  • Rose says:

    Currently going through this. Your article really helped. Thank you

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