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What is Blighted Ovum Pregnancy Loss?

What is Blighted Ovum Pregnancy Loss?

Blighted ovum is a term used to describe a type of miscarriage. Blighted ovum happens when a fertilized egg embeds in the uterine lining, but the embryo fails to continue to develop. During the early part of the first trimester, the embryo will stop developing, but the egg (gestational) sac will continue to form. The placenta will also continue to form. The embryo is absorbed by the body after it fails to develop. The leading cause of blighted ovum is chromosomal abnormalities.

What Causes Blighted Ovum?
As with any miscarriage, this type of miscarriage may leave couples feeling confused, sad, angry, and cheated. It is important to realize that blighted ovum is the cause of up to 50% of all first trimester miscarriages. The body recognizes the chromosomal abnormalities in the developing embryo and naturally will not work to sustain the pregnancy. This may take time though, as the egg sac and placenta may continue to grow. Most of these pregnancies end by the 6th week gestation. hCG still continues to rise, and a woman may not know anything is wrong; she will assume that the pregnancy is going along wonderfully. Only an early ultrasound can detect blighted ovum prior to miscarriage. That being said, this does not warrant early first trimester ultrasound. Even if blighted ovum is detected, miscarriage is imminent.

Most blighted ovum miscarriage will happen naturally on its own, without the need for a D&C. Many women will not even know they were pregnant. If you are experiencing miscarriage it is best to let your body do the work of naturally cleansing the pregnancy, rather than have a D&C. Most women’s bodies are perfectly capable of miscarrying naturally on their own. D&C runs its own risks and should only be performed when medically necessary.

How Can I Prevent Blighted Ovum?
Because blighted ovum is so common and is one of the leading causes of miscarriage, there is not much you can do to prevent this from happening. It is the body’s way of singling out the best viable egg and sperm connection, to ensure you have the healthiest baby and pregnancy possible. It is one of your body’s checks and balances. That being said, I know that does not take away the pain caused by pregnancy loss. What you experience through miscarriage is very real and can be very difficult to go through. Most times a blighted ovum is a one-time occurrence and a woman will go on to have a successful pregnancy.

Support Healthy Eggs and Sperm, Prior to Pregnancy
There are key components to consider when preparing for pregnancy; some of these may help to prevent blighted ovum. Ensure that you have the healthiest eggs and sperm possible prior to conception. Poor quality eggs and sperm are known to cause chromosomal abnormalities, including birth defects in babies that develop full term, and increase incidence of miscarriage.

If you have recently had a miscarriage it is important to work on preparing your body for pregnancy 3 months prior to conception. Both eggs and sperm renew about every 90 days. Changes you make today will impact the egg and sperm that will be used 3 months from now. Wait for 3 months after your miscarriage before trying to conceive again. This will give you the time to prepare, while increasing chances of a successful pregnancy.

Both Men and Women will benefit from these important tips. The best ways to increase your chances of successful pregnancy and reduce incidence of blighted ovum are…

If you have experienced more than 2 miscarriages, you may find our Recurrent Miscarriages page very helpful. Recurrent miscarriages have a variety of causes, some of which may be prevented. This page provides many helpful tips to help prevent recurrent miscarriage.

Healing Emotionally from Miscarriage
Miscarriage is never easy. You may be left with a strong longing to get pregnant again, right away. It is important to give your body, mind, and spirit time to adjust, process and heal from this intense situation. Talk to your partner about what you are going through. I am sure your partner is feeling down as well, and may benefit from healthy communication about their feelings. Let your body heal naturally. Support it with extra rest and nourishment by eating whole, iron rich foods! Take time to get some extra sleep. Seek counseling if necessary. Be patient and kind to yourself; know that the cause of miscarriages are usually natural selection through proper function in the body. Don’t give up hope! More often than not, you will go on to have a successful, healthy pregnancy!

Click here to learn about a helpful kit for pregnancy loss recovery…

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Avatar

    Yes, it was a very helpful article. I also went through 2 early miscarriages, one at 5 weeks and other at 7 weeks which was a blighted ovum. Now my doctor has suggested we go for some different tests before planning. I am totally devastated.

    • Dear Swati,

      I am so sorry you have had to go through this! I do hope that further testing helps you understand what led to this for you and how to best move forward. Feel free to reach back out to us for further natural fertility health support when you have a better understanding of what happened.

      All my best!

  2. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

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    Thank you much for your wonderful advice and information, this is really great help to me because I got miscarriaged due to blighted ovum and may God continue to bless you more. How can I buy your products, I’m here in Manila Philippines, thanks a lot!

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    Very informative. Thank you

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    I found this article very helpful I had a blighted ovum pregnancy but I was angry at GOD because not to long ago we buried our beautiful baby girl and knowing that our new baby could never replace her. I guess we where over excited but u know I know now that GOD has a reason 4 everything in our lives. It hurts like my heart was ripped out I feel some days like a emotion less person but I can tell you this. We make plans 4 our future but when our life don’t go the way we planned 4 it remember its going the way GOD intended it to go.