A blighted ovum is also referred to as an anembryonic pregnancy. It is a pregnancy which in its very early stages appears to be a normal pregnancy on the ultrasound scan, but a visible embryo does not develop as the pregnancy proceeds. In other words, it occurs when a fertilized egg gets implanted in the uterus but it does not develop into an embryo.
The blighted ovum is one of the leading causes of an early pregnancy failure which may also be called as a miscarriage. A miscarriage refers to a condition when a pregnancy ends on its own, generally within 20 weeks. A blighted ovum is stated to occur in the very first few weeks of the pregnancy; often even before the woman even knows that she is pregnant.
Blighted Ovum Against Normal Pregnancy
In a normal pregnancy, as the egg gets fertilized it attaches to the uterine wall and in about 5 to 6 weeks the embryo is present in the gestational sac which is about 18 millimetres wide. But in the case of a blighted ovum, the sac forms and grows but there is no growth of the embryo.Â In case of a blighted ovum, many women miss their monthly period and even get a positive on the pregnancy test.
This is because the placenta is formed even in blighted ovum and it releases the human chronic gonadotropin- pregnancy hormone. Other symptoms of pregnancy are also possible but as the pregnancy stops, the levels of hormones decrease and the symptoms also subside.
Causes and Symptoms
There is much that is yet to be known about the blighted ovum situation even though it is a term that is used frequently in medical literature. But it is often stated that the miscarriages from a blighted ovum often have problems with chromosomes as an underlying cause; chromosomes are structures which carry genes of living beings. It has also been indicated that the abnormality in the chromosome may be due to the poor quality of the egg or the sperm.
Though some research says that blighted ovum is common in elderly women, indicating that it is often due to poor eggs rather than poor sperm. Another cause may be abnormal cell division. Regardless of the cause, it is found that the blighted ovum is only a one time fluke of nature and women with a blighted ovum can definitely have successful pregnancies.
There are also some signs/ symptoms which indicate towards a miscarriage or a blighted ovum. These include light abdominal pain/ cramping and vaginal bleeding or spotting. If a woman experiences any of these, she should visit her doctor. An ultrasound can give a positive diagnosis.