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Blighted Ovum

A blighted ovum is a type of pregnancy loss which happens in very early pregnancy. After conception, the fertilised egg implants in your uterus, but for some reason a baby fails to develop and the pregnancy consists of an empty sac.

What causes blighted ovum?

It’s not really known why this happens. It has nothing to do with the mother’s actions, but rather an event of nature occurring when the sperm fertilizes the egg. Something fails during this process. Some of the dividing cells are meant to develop into an embryo, and others into the placenta and membranes. However, the cells that should develop into an embryo, don’t occur. This means that the pregnancy sac continues growing, along with hormones being produced, unknown to the mother that there is no baby growing within.

Diagnosis

This pregnancy will feel normal to a mother as hormones are still being produced from the growing placenta and membranes. However, light bleeding may occur from 6 weeks on if a blighted ovum exists. Often, parents will find out they have a blighted ovum during their first scan or after early bleeding has begun, and a follow-up ultrasound provides this diagnosis.

Parents have their first ultrasound with much anticipitation of seeing their new baby. If a blighted ovum is diagnosed, this will come as a great shock often leaving you feeling numb, confused, and completely shattered.

Does having a blighted ovum affect future pregnancies?

The chances of a normal pregnancy following this diagnosis, are not reduced in any way.

Management of a blighted ovum

You may be offered to have a D&C, to take medication to expulse the contents of your uterus, or you may choose to wait and have a natural miscarriage. Speak with your doctor about the best management for your situation.