My doctor said I have blighted ovum – what does this mean?

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It can be depressing after a few weeks of pregnancy and you are told during an ultrasound scan that you have blighted ovum. For some, this is picked during a scan after spotting is noticed. A lot of questions will run through your mind as to what might have caused this. What really is blighted ovum? What are the chances of this pregnancy? Let’s have a look at this.

About fertilization

In normal situation, when an egg meets a sperm inside the womb fertilization occurs. This means the egg fuses with the sperm and form what is called a zygote. Zygote is a cell that needs to divide in multiple form and this cell is implanted in the womb surrounded by a yolk sac that serve as nutrient for the dividing cell. The yolk sac and this dividing cell are both surrounded by a sac called gestational sac.

What then happens in blighted ovum?

The egg and sperm fuses and form this cell which divide initially and stops or may not divide at all before it implants. As a result of this, the cell cannot become embryo and subsequently no fetus (developing baby) is formed.

What could cause blighted ovum?

The cause of this is unknown although it is believed to be due to poor quality egg or sperm, abnormal cell division or even chromosomal abnormalities.

What are the symptoms you will notice in blighted ovum?

In some women, there may be no symptoms. It will be noticed when they go for their first scan usually after 8 weeks of pregnancy. The pregnancy will be seen on ultrasound scan not to be growing and there will be no sign of life in it. This is because at 6weeks, a sign of life should be seen on ultrasound scan. Some may have abdominal cramps, spotting or bleeding through the vagina.

What is the fate of blighted ovum?   

Blighted ovum cannot form a baby because the cells cannot divide or stops dividing at a point. After a while, the pregnancy hormones drop and the body expel the pregnancy which is seen as abdominal cramps, spotting or bleeding. If this does not happen naturally, it can be evacuated.

Is it possible to prevent blighted ovum in other pregnancies?

Blighted ovum cannot be prevented and it usually does not recur. In couples with recurrent pregnancy loss, genetic counselling and testing is advised. If you had blighted ovum, it is advisable to wait for about 3months before you try getting pregnant again.


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Dr Kay
About Dr Kay 58 Articles
As a physician, I love to give answers to several questions bothering people, educating them on how to be healthy, breaking down what their present condition is all about and counselling them on how to manage their condition.

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