Blighted Ovum

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

What is a blighted ovum?

When a fertilized egg implants itself on the uterus wall but does not develop into an embryo, it is called a blighted ovum. A blighted ovum often occurs at the very beginning of the pregnancy, long before the woman knows she is pregnant. In a blighted ovum, there is a great number of chromosome abnormalities which usually cause a miscarriage.

What causes a blighted ovum?

Scientists believe a blighted ovum may be the result of a poor-quality sperm or egg or a failure in cell division. As soon as your body recognize the abnormality, it will stop carrying the pregnancy.

How to know if you have a blighted ovum?

A blighted ovum often causes you to experience all the common signs of a normal pregnancy (the loss of menstruation and a positive pregnancy test). Then, when your body realizes that something is wrong with your pregnancy and decides to give up, you may experience belly cramps, vaginal bleeding, and heavy menstruation. However, keep in mind that not all bleeding result in a miscarriage. So, if you notice any of these signs, seek medical help as soon as possible.

How is a blighted ovum diagnosed?

If you have a blighted ovum, your body still experiences a rise in the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) because the placenta still keeps growing for a while and producing this hormone even in the absence of the embryo. Therefore, you will need an ultrasound for the most accurate result.

Do I need a procedure or should I just wait for the body to get rid of the pregnancy?

Most of the time, a D&C procedure is not necessary since the body is able to pass the pregnancy tissue if the miscarriage happens early. Since a D&C comes with health risks and complications, you do not need it unless you want the tissue examined to figure out the exact cause of the miscarriage. While some women consider a D&C as a closure, others feel like it only adds up to the trauma.

Dealing with a blighted ovum

The most important thing to keep in mind after a diagnosis is that there is nothing you can do or could have done to prevent this from happening. A blighted ovum, just like any other types of miscarriage, just happens. Give yourself some time to heal, both mentally and physically. If you want to get pregnant again, make sure you wait for at least one to three menstrual cycles for your body to get ready.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: April 13, 2017 | Last Modified: December 6, 2019

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