If you’re trying to conceive, experiencing a blighted ovum can be really upsetting.
So before we go any further into the details, listen up: while many people choose to hide this very real aspect of becoming-a-mamahood, miscarriages, unfortunately, happen. They happen a lot. You did absolutely nothing wrong. And however you feel right now it totally valid. Okay?
A blighted ovum is usually caused by some sort of chromosomal irregularity that results in the embryo not wanting to grow. Whether you were very stressed, had wild sex after conceiving, drank too much green tea, or did too much extreme scrapbooking has no bearing on the occurrence of a blighted ovum.
So one more time: you did nothing wrong.
Now let’s take a look at what a blighted ovum is.
What is a blighted ovum?
A blighted ovum is a very early loss of pregnancy. Essentially, the process gets interrupted.
Heard the term “empty gestational sac” or “anembryonic pregnancy”? Yup, that’s what we’re talking about here. This is how it goes:
- Your egg gets fertilized by a winning sperm, as per usual.
- The fertilized egg (as it usually would) attaches to the wall of the uterus.
- The embryo, however, doesn’t grow.
- The gestational sac still develops to keep its contents safe, but the embryo itself doesn’t.
How long can you carry a blighted ovum?
Blighted ovum pregnancies will typically be diagnosed at your first ultrasound. What’s interesting is that you still may experience some of the hormonal shifts of pregnancy, even though the embryo is not growing. Your levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG, for example, may keep going up as the gestational sac grows.
That’s why you may test positive on a home pregnancy test, even though the sac is empty. It’s only when you visit your doc and they do an ultrasound that you realize that the process is not happening as it should.
Of course, this can feel pretty darn awful—like the rug has been pulled from beneath your feet as your positive result is taken away from you.
So, to grieve is a natural response. Do what you need to do to feel safe. Surround yourself with loved ones, talk to women who have been through the same, do all the stress-relieving things that work for you (yoga, meditation, screaming off bridges—that kind of thing). Take the time you need.
Is a blighted ovum considered a miscarriage?
Yes, a blighted ovum is a miscarriage in the very early phases of pregnancy. In fact, it may happen before you even know you’re pregnant.
Because it happens so early, it may leave you with a bundle of confusing emotions. How are you actually supposed to feel about this? The good news is, when it comes to feeling emotions, there are no wrong answers. Whatever’s coming up is completely and utterly correct for you.
What are the chances of a blighted ovum?
So how common is a blighted ovum? A blighted ovum miscarriage is in fact the most common type, accounting for 50% of miscarriages in the first trimester. So if it helps at all, there are a bunch of other waiting mamas out there who have gone through or are going through the exact same thing.
Blighted ovum symptoms
What are the signs of a blighted ovum? This is a bit of a tricky question to answer because blighted ovum symptoms are pretty similar to what you could experience for other reasons at this early point of pregnancy.
So what will a blighted ovum feel/look like? Well, like most things pregnancy-related, it depends on your amazingly unique body.
Do you bleed with a blighted ovum?
Yes, chances are that’s going to happen. Blighted ovum bleeding will be something like a period and last for about a week. One pro tip? Use pads rather than tampons. By your next period (in about 3 to 6 weeks) all should be back to normal and you can use tampons again.
Do you feel pain with a blighted ovum?
Yes, pain and a blighted ovum also tend to go hand in hand. You may feel cramps (from mild to more severe) in your lower abdomen. As with the bleeding saga, this is because your body now needs to get rid of the sac, and this process may be accompanied by some discomfort. Sometimes the process will just happen naturally and other times your doc will give you some meds to help you along.
Blighted ovum treatment
So, after a blighted ovum experience, your body is going to have to go through a recovery period. Let it.
While blighted ovum prevention may not be so easy, there are definitely steps to take that will help you get better.
First things first, go on your healing journey hand-in-hand with your healthcare provider. Follow up appointments matter. They’ll advise you about how to navigate the next phase, from what pain medication you can take (Advil and Tylenol are usually fine) and whether they want to do any tests.
Healthy diets rich in iron, taking care of your mental health, reaching out to other women for support, and avoiding sex are some of the things that may help you on the road to recovery.
And in case you need to hear it one more time: this is not your fault.
If you have suffered a blighted ovum miscarriage, know that whatever you’re feeling is completely valid and that you’re allowed to take the time to grieve. Take care of yourself.