Blighted Ovum

Blighted ovum or anembryonic gestation is a type of pregnancy in which the egg gets fertilized and attaches to the uterine wall normally, but the embryo does not develop. Here, the pregnancy sac develops but the development of the embryo does not occur. This type of pregnancy takes place in the first trimester long before the woman may even be aware of her pregnancy.

Blighted ovum is a result of profound levels of chromosome abnormalities found in the woman’s body which results in a natural miscarriage. This condition is also termed as ‘Early Pregnancy Failure’. When this condition progresses, a woman usually gets a positive result in the pregnancy test. The generation of the placenta starts taking place and it secretes HCG which is human chorionic gonadtrophinp. It is the HCG which triggers the positive results in the pregnancy test.

Causes of Blighted Ovum:

There are no conclusive causes for blighted ovum. But there is a common understanding that it occurs due the abnormalities in the chromosomes. Especially, the chromosomal abnormality can be related to trisomes 16-22 chromosomes.

Some researchers suggest that the blighted ovum occurs in some older women, and the problem is basically with the egg and not with the sperm. Blighted ovum occurs occasionally, and its occurrence does not indicate that this problem will necessarily present itself again.

Signs of Blighted Pregnancy:

  • Missed or late menstrual period and a positive pregnancy test
  • Minor cramps in the abdomen
  • Minor vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • The appearance of a  pregnancy as being normal; the HCG hormone is secreted, and its levels keep on increasing
  • Placenta is present for some time and with a normal period the uterine lining is flushed away

Misdiagnosed Blighted Ovum:

Blighted ovum can only be diagnosed through an ultrasound. If the ultrasound is not done, the empty sac cannot be confirmed.  It is important to have an ultrasound within 4 weeks of the pregnancy.

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