Blighted Ovum Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Blighted Ovum Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

A blighted ovum is also known as an anembryonic pregnancy or an empty pregnancy.


A blighted ovum is also known as an anembryonic pregnancy or an empty pregnancy. This is a condition in which a woman thinks she is pregnant, but there is actually no fetus in her womb. She will experience common pregnancy symptoms – such as nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy, enlarged belly, and hardened breasts.

A woman who has a blighted ovum will usually experience late menstruation. In fact, when carrying out an examination using a test pack, the results obtained can be positive.

This situation occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus, but does not form an embryo (fetus). However, the gestational sac ( gestational sac ) and pregnancy hormones are generally still formed.


Generally, a blighted ovum is caused by chromosomal abnormalities that occur during the fertilization of the egg by sperm. For example, due to abnormal cell division, poor quality egg cells (ovum), or sperm.

This condition can also be caused by an infection – such as TORCH, rubella, and uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. In addition, the old age factor also increases the risk of blighted ovum, due to a decrease in sperm or ovum quality.


Women who experience blighted ovum will feel symptoms of pregnancy like pregnant women in general. The results of the pregnancy test (beta HCG) also showed a positive result. This is due to the pregnancy hormones that are still being produced.

Apart from the above, there are no specific symptoms that indicate that you are experiencing an empty pregnancy or that an embryo does not develop in the early weeks of ‘pregnancy’. In some cases, there may be abdominal pain, spotting, or bleeding from the vagina. At 7–12 weeks of gestation usually, a miscarriage occurs


A blighted ovum is generally confirmed through a pregnancy ultrasound examination, where:

  • no embryo was seen in the gestational sac with a mean sac diameter (MSD) ≥ 25mm (in cases of MSD less than 25 mm, a repeat ultrasound would be recommended 1–2 weeks later)


  • no embryos seen after repeat ultrasound:
    • ≥ 11 days on previous ultrasound showing gestational sac with yolk sac, but no embryo
  • ≥ 2 weeks on previous ultrasound showing gestational sac without yolk sac and embryo


Handling of blighted ovum conditions that can be done until a natural miscarriage occurs.

Another option is to perform a curettage to remove the blighted ovum. Embryos and placental tissue that does not develop will be expelled from the uterus. After the curettage process is carried out, women who have just undergone it may experience side effects in the form of stomach cramps. But this will soon pass.


The appearance of a blighted ovum cannot be prevented. Women who have experienced this condition can still have the possibility of getting pregnant again with a healthy uterine condition when the pregnancy occurs.

However, if you have had three or more recurrent miscarriages, further tests should be carried out. You and your partner can do a joint examination, including a genetic test to find out if there are possible abnormalities that are at risk of causing recurrent miscarriages.

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