This article would prove helpful if you have recently come across this term or your doctor has told you that you have experienced a blighted ovum.
A blighted ovum, also known as an anembryonic pregnancy, is a condition when a fertilised egg successfully implants into the uterus lining, but it fails to develop into an embryo. Although the placenta and embryonic sac form, they remain empty, and no baby is growing inside the womb. This condition is also known as anembryonic gestation.
An anembryonic pregnancy is one of the leading causes of miscarriage detected in certain pregnancies. This is because even though no embryo develops, the placenta still produces hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) – the pregnancy hormone that maintains the pregnancy throughout.
Since urine and blood pregnancy tests detect human chorionic gonadotropin, a blighted ovum can result in a positive pregnancy test, even though the pregnancy isn’t progressing. You may have the typical early pregnancy symptoms such as feeling nausea and sore breasts, but the hormone levels decrease, and the symptoms fade with time.
Therefore, this article will examine the symptoms, causes, and where to find support if you happen to be undergoing a blighted ovum.
Causes of Blighted Ovum
Now that we have a brief on the topic and what it is about, let’s discuss what causes/triggers its appearance.
If you have suffered a blighted ovum, rest assured that there was nothing that you could have done to avoid it. The causes of blighted ovum have nothing to do with what you did before or after being pregnant.
Unfortunately, there is no exact cause of blighted ovum. Researchers are still invested and are trying to find what causes it. However, a few sources claim that this condition could happen due to some issue in the chromosomes.
Some claim that a blighted ovum pregnancy happens due to chromosomal abnormalities that occur within the fertilised egg. This could be due to the influence of genetics or even because of the poor quality of sperms. However, constant blighted ovum pregnancies can be due to problems in chromosome 9. Therefore it would be best to talk to your doctor.
The reason why it often goes unrecognised is that it occurs pretty early. As far as blighted ovum pregnancies go, most women go through the following:
- Happen to have quite successful terms and babies after going through an anembryonic pregnancy.
- Go through such pregnancies either during their first time or more than once.
Symptoms of Blighted Ovum
Just as mentioned before, a blighted ovum pregnancy can happen without even knowing. In the same way, it can end without you even realising that you were once pregnant. However, you may experience some pregnancy symptoms such as:
- A positive pregnancy test
- A missed period
- Sore breasts
- Morning sickness
As the pregnancy ends, the symptoms begin to resemble a miscarriage. Such symptoms include the following:
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting
- The disappearance of sore breasts
- Abdominal cramping that could be mild to moderate
Pregnancy tests measure the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin. Hence, a blighted ovum pregnancy continues until the term ends.
If you are experiencing any of these signs, you may be going through a miscarriage. Therefore, it is vital to see a doctor or a healthcare professional.
Diagnosis of Blighted Ovum
Going through the symptoms of a blighted ovum pregnancy can really put women in a rough spot. Nevertheless, a blighted ovum is often first discovered in an ultrasound during an appointment.
This is tough for women, especially those with successful pregnancy terms and who have heartfelt experiences during ultrasound testing.
The sonogram will show the placenta, and an empty embryonic sac, indicating a blighted ovum pregnancy in the 8th to 13th weeks of the pregnancy term.
Treatment of Blighted Ovum
If a blighted ovum pregnancy comes across during an ultrasound check-up, or if you have been experiencing any of the symptoms – the doctor may advise any of the following treatment options:
1. Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
Dilation and Curettage is a surgical option that helps remove the contents of the uterus. During this surgical treatment, the doctor or healthcare professional will dilate the cervix and use specific medical tools to eliminate the pregnancy tissues. This operation either happens under general anaesthesia or sedation.
2. Natural Miscarriage
Your doctor will ask you to follow the natural miscarriage process if it is a safe treatment option. Your body will eventually end up releasing the pregnancy tissues. You will go through cramping, intense abdominal pain, and bleeding once the miscarriage starts. It can take up to days to weeks for this process to begin.
3. Induced Miscarriage
In this treatment option, you’ll have a medicine induced miscarriage. For this process to occur, a medication named Misoprostol brings on a miscarriage. The medicine speeds the process instead of just waiting for it to begin. You’ll experience bleeding, cramping and abdominal pain within thirty minutes to ten hours after taking the medication.
Keep in mind that your mental health, medical history, and current emotional state is kept in check when coming up with a suitable treatment option.
A blighted ovum pregnancy can take a toll on the women who go through it. Even though there is no baby, it is still a pregnancy loss.
Not only are such pregnancies emotionally draining, but they can take a reasonable amount of time to finish and can be longer than anticipated. That is why some women prefer to get rid of it surgically or through medicines. On the other hand, some women wait for the pregnancy to fade with time.
It is essential to note that a blighted ovum pregnancy isn’t something one can keep on the bay. Therefore, if you’re worried that a condition like that could affect your plans, it would help if you talked to your doctor about genetic causes.
Talk to your partner, look up success stories, or even reconnect with the hobbies and people you love to improve yourself emotionally.
Going through a blighted ovum during your first pregnancy can be an intense hope crusher. However, it is crucial not to let it get to you and give your body time to heal. Women who experience blighted ovum pregnancies go on to have successful terms as well.