Blighted Ovum

What is a blighted ovum?

It is a pregnancy where there is a pregnancy sac that may be growing but the embryo (fertilized egg) itself does not grow. It is a type of early miscarriage.

What causes of blighted ovum?

Majority of the time it is due to abnormalities of the genes in the embryo. A woman’s body naturally recognized the abnormal embryo and does not try to continue supporting the baby as it will not grow into a healthy normal baby.

What are the symptoms of a blighted ovum?

You may initially experience early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and breast tenderness as the placenta still excretes the pregnancy hormones. Your urine pregnancy test may be positive and the BHCG level is increasing. Later on, you may notice lower abdominal pain and vaginal spotting. In some patients, they are asymptomatic and the diagnosis may only be made on ultrasound.

How is the diagnosis made?

This is usually made by ultrasound, where the pregnancy sac is more than 20mm with no embryo seen.

What is the treatment for a blighted ovum?

Your doctor may recommend that you wait 1- 2 weeks till your own body expels the embryo itself. However, some patients feel that they are unable to wait and would want to proceed to D&C as soon as the diagnosis is made.

How do you prevent recurrence of a blighted ovum?

Unfortunately, there is not way of doing so. Most of the times, blighted ovum occurs only once. If you have 3 or more early miscarriages, you should discuss with you doctor regarding further investigation and management.


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