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What is a Blighted Ovum?

If you have had an early miscarriage, you might have been told you had a blighted ovum. A blighted ovum is a very early miscarriage. When an ovum is blighted it does not mean you were not pregnant. It means that the pregnancy ended so early that the fertilized egg did not result in the formation of a fetus. When a woman has a blighted ovum, an empty sac will be seen on an ultrasound but there will be nothing visible inside the sac.

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Diagnosing a blighted ovum

If you have been diagnosed with a blighted ovum, one of your first thoughts might be “what if my doctor is wrong?” It is very difficult to hear the news that you are going to have a miscarriage. It is true that during very early pregnancy, not a lot can be seen by ultrasound. If your doctor suspects a blighted ovum, he may do another ultrasound several days after the first to confirm this. Moreover, a blighted ovum is diagnosed by measuring the gestational sac. These measurements are based on established criteria. If you have a large gestational sac that does not contain an embryo, you will most likely be diagnosed as having a blighted ovum.

Will you have a miscarriage if you have a blighted ovum?

A blighted ovum will eventually result in a miscarriage. It may take weeks to occur and your doctor may offer you the option of having a D&C. A D&C is generally not needed for a blighted ovum but some women would prefer to have a D&C over having a natural miscarriage. You should discuss your feelings with your doctor and choose the best approach for you.

What causes a blighted ovum?

Generally the cause of a blighted ovum is some type of chromosomal problem. About fifty percent of early miscarriages are caused by blighted ova. A blighted ovum is usually a one time event. A woman who has had a blighted ovum will normally go on to have a subsequent healthy pregnancy.

What can be done to prevent or treat a blighted ovum?

Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to prevent or treat a blighted ovum. Your doctor may suggest testing if you have had recurrent early miscarriages. Nevertheless, once a blighted ovum is detected there really isn’t anything your doctor can do to keep you from miscarrying. It is very rare for a woman to have more than one pregnancy with a blighted ovum.


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