A blighted ovum happens when the fertilized egg does not develop into an embryo after it has been implanted into the uterus. Such a condition is also referred to as a no embryo pregnancy, and is one of the most common causes of a miscarriage. This condition occurs early in the pregnancy, and in fact, some people may not even realize they were pregnant before having the miscarriage.
Causes and Symptoms of Blighted Ovum Miscarriage
A blighted ovum occurs because of chromosomal errors. Chromosomes are the biological structures that carry the genes, and errors may occur due to pre-existing faults in the genetic makeup of the parents. In this condition, your body recognizes this error and ends the pregnancy.
You may blame yourself for the miscarriage; however, it is important to know that you could do nothing to prevent this from happening.
Symptoms of Blighted Ovum
The symptoms of blighted ovum are almost the same as a normal pregnancy. The body continues to release many of the pregnancy hormones and has many changes.
A few things point to a blighted ovum, though:
- Bleeding, similar to that seen during your periods, but heavier.
- Severe cramping
- An ultrasound taken at around 7 weeks of gestation that shows the presence of an amniotic sac but no embryo.
How Is It Diagnosed?
The only way to diagnose a blighted ovum miscarriage is through an ultrasound which is able to see inside the amniotic sac. If this ultrasound is taken early in the pregnancy, say about 5 weeks, then it can be considered normal to not spot the tiny developing embryo, so the doctor may ask you to come back for a follow-up a few weeks later before confirming this diagnosis.
What Will Happen If Blighted Ovum Is Diagnosed?
Once the diagnosis of blighted ovum has been confirmed, the pregnancy has to be terminated. There are several ways that this can be done, based on various factors.
- One method is to opt for a D and C (dilation and curettage) that will involve physically removing all of the contents of the uterus. The tissue that is recovered may be used by a pathologist to help determine why this occurred in the first place.
- The other option is to take medications like misoprostol that will help the body expel the contents of uterus over several days. The patient will experience increased bleeding, pain and cramping.
- A third option is to wait for the miscarriage and let the body dispel the uterus contents on its own, which will inevitably happen.
How Will It Affect My Odds of Conceiving Again?
A blighted ovum may be devastating, but it commonly does not have any side effects on future pregnancies. However, it is still important to speak to your doctor before you plan for your next pregnancy. Most doctors will recommend you to wait for at least three cycles before trying again.
The rate of conception and successfully completing a pregnancy subsequent to a blighted ovum is the same with that of other unaffected women. In case, however, there are incidents of repeated blighted ovum miscarriages, an underlying genetic disorder could be the cause and more tests should be performed.
Take Care of Yourself After Blighted Ovum
- There is likely to be an increased amount of bleeding, and a sanitary pad is a better idea than a tampon. Do not engage in sexual intercourse until your bleeding has stopped completely.
- Use over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol, ibuprofen or others to combat cramps that you may experience.
- Let your doctor test any tissue that you might pass. Use a clean container to collect the tissue.
- There is no harm in following your normal workout routine, but avoid strenuous exercises until the bleeding has ceased.
- Have diets that are rich in vitamin C and other necessary nutrients, which can help you get back to full function.
- Talk to your friends, family, and other close confidants to help deal with the loss you have suffered. The more you share, the better you will feel.
When Should You Call for Help?
Do not hesitate to call the emergency services if you:
- suffer from a sudden severe pain
- are losing consciousness
You should get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible if you:
- have severe vaginal bleeding after blighted ovum miscarriage
- develop a fever
- have a vaginal discharge that smells bad