TYPES AND CAUSES OF MISCARRIAGE
Chances are you didn’t even know you were pregnant or had just found out you were expecting when
you received the shattering news that there is no visible developing embryo on the ultrasound. You are probably
feeling sad and confused. As you take time to understand what this means, also take time to grieve as you would for
any loss. And remember you are not alone.
What is a blighted ovum?
A blighted ovum (also known as “anembryonic pregnancy”) happens when a fertilized egg attaches
itself to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop. Cells develop to form the pregnancy sac, but not the
embryo itself. A blighted ovum usually occurs within the first trimester before a woman knows she is pregnant. A
high level of chromosome abnormalities usually causes a woman’s body to naturally miscarry.
How do I know if I am having or have had a blighted
A blighted ovum can occur very early in pregnancy, before most women even know that they are
pregnant. You may experience signs of pregnancy such as a missed or late menstrual period and even a positive
pregnancy test. It is possible that you may have minor abdominal cramps, minor vaginal spotting or bleeding. As
with a normal period, your body may flush the uterine lining, but your period may be a little heavier than
Many women assume their pregnancies are on track because their hCG levels are increasing. The
placenta can continue to grow and support itself without a baby for a short time, and pregnancy hormones can
continue to rise, which would lead a woman to believe she is still pregnant. A diagnosis is usually not made until
an ultrasound test shows either an empty womb or an empty birth.