How to Detect Common Symptoms of a Blighted Ovum
A blighted ovum (sometimes called an anembryonic pregnancy) develops when an egg is fertilized but doesn’t develop into an embryo once it is implanted in the womb. This is one of the most common reasons for miscarriage during the first trimester, so it’s important to understand the causes and symptoms.
Why do some women develop a blighted ovum?
Most pregnancies that lead to a blighted ovum involve chromosomal abnormalities, either from the sperm or the egg. Your body is able to recognize these types of abnormalities, and miscarriage is the unfortunate result.
Symptoms of a blighted ovum
Some women do not even know that they’re pregnant when they develop a blighted ovum. However, there are certain symptoms and signs that should give you cause to talk to your doctor about the possibility.
Firstly, note that you may have noticed some of the early signs of pregnancy in spite of a blighted ovum. So, you may have missed at least one menstrual period, and seen positive results on several pregnancy tests. Somewhat confusingly, pregnancy tests may still be positive after the fertilized egg is no longer developing into an embryo, as your hormone levels can remain high for several weeks longer.
A blighted ovum often causes the typical signs of a miscarriage as well. In other words, you may experience abdominal cramps (which can be mild or more severe, and will generally resemble menstrual cramps), and you might notice spotting or your underwear. Some women bleed more heavily, producing blood that resembles a period. Alternatively, you may simply seem to have a period that is heavier and more painful than normal. If you suffer from any of these symptoms of a miscarriage, speak to your medical team as soon as possible so that an ultrasound examination can be scheduled. Try to stay calm, and remember that only diagnostic tests can tell you whether you actually have a blighted ovum or some other abnormality–not all bleeding in the first trimester will necessarily result in a miscarriage.
After diagnosis of a blighted ovum
If your doctor tells you that you have a blighted ovum, you will likely have several options. For example, some women can take medication that assists the body in expelling any remaining tissue, but this can be painful and will often cause bleeding. On the other hand, a surgeon can dilate your cervix and remove remaining tissue from your uterus. While this is more immediately invasive, it can also be done as soon as you receive a diagnosis and some women therefore find it provides more emotional closure.
Finally, if you do develop a blighted ovum, it’s vital to recognize that this is not the fault of you or your partner–it’s not possible to prevent a blighted ovum. However, the good news is that this is unlikely to happen to you a second time. Most women who miscarry following a blighted ovum will go on to achieve a successful, healthy pregnancy.