Blighted Ovum

What is Blighted Ovum

Blighted ovum is a common kind of early pregnancy failure. It happens when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterus but stops growing.

Even though the egg never develops, the body acts like it is pregnant. A sac starts to form around the egg, and tissue to support a baby starts to form in the placenta.

What are the causes?

This condition is usually caused by a genetic defect in the egg.

What are the signs or symptoms?

Early symptoms of this condition are the same as those of early pregnancy. They include:

  • A missed menstrual period.
  • Fatigue.
  • Feeling sick to your stomach (nauseous).
  • Sore breasts.

Later symptoms are those of pregnancy loss. They include:

  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting.
  • A menstrual period that is heavier than usual.

How is this diagnosed?

This condition is usually diagnosed during a routine ultrasound. It can be confirmed with blood tests.

How is this treated?

This condition may be treated by:

  • Waiting until your body naturally gets rid of the empty egg sac and placenta (miscarriage).
  • Taking medicine to start a miscarriage. This medicine can be taken by mouth or placed into the vagina.
  • Having a surgical procedure to remove the tissue. Your health care provider would open the entrance to your womb (dilation) and remove the tissue (curettage).

Follow these instructions at home:

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • Talk to your health care provider about when you can try to get pregnant again. Having this condition does not mean you will lose future pregnancies.
  • After your miscarriage:
    • Rest at home for a few days.
    • You may bleed heavily for a week or more, and you may have light bleeding for a couple weeks after that. Wear a pad until vaginal bleeding stops.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your pain medicine is not helping.
  • You have vaginal bleeding that continues for longer than expected.

Get help right away if:

  • You have severe abdominal pain.
  • You feel dizzy or faint.
  • You pass out.
  • You have very heavy vaginal bleeding. A sign that vaginal bleeding is very heavy is if blood soaks through two large sanitary pads an hour for more than two hours.

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