Blighted Ovum and Missed Miscarriage

Finding out that you are pregnant is such exciting news and you cannot wait to tell everyone! Morning sickness, hot flushes, cravings and tender breasts gives you definite signs that you are pregnant. A pregnancy test shows you that you are positive and off to the gynaecologist you go, only to find an ultra sound showing a sac with no baby.

The doctor will do the scan externally and then will have to do an internal examination which will show the sac.... empty.

What is a blighted Ovum?

A blighted ovum or anembryonic pregnancy is when the fertilised egg implants into the uterus but doesn't develop into an embryo.

It is the leading cause of miscarriage or early pregnancy failure.

When a woman becomes pregnant a fertilised egg attaches itself to the uterus wall and at about 5 or 6 weeks into pregnancy an embryo should be present and the gestational sac should be about 18mm wide.

With a blighted ovum the pregnancy sac forms and grows but the embryo does not develop.

gestational sac with baby
gestational sac with baby
empty gestational sac
empty gestational sac

Why Does it Happen?

When you fall pregnant the placenta produces a hormone called HGC which is a pregnancy hormone. The levels can rise and should keep rising almost by double each day but with a blighted ovum your hormone levels or HGC could be low and your body might not produce enough of it for the embryo to develop.

It can happen to anyone and for most women who have had a blighted ovum, it will only happen once.

It could be due to problems with chromosomes ( the structure that carry genes) from a poor quality sperm or egg.

It may also be due to abnormal cell division and the body recognises this abnormality and then stops the pregnancy.

You cannot prevent it and it is nothing that you have done wrong it just happens!


Once your body has recognised that there is a problem it starts to terminate the pregnancy.

You will experience bad cramping and vaginal spotting or bleeding. As not all pregnancies end after experiencing bleeding you need to consult a doctor urgently.

Spotting in pregnancy can sometimes be found normal but if it is heavy bleeding with cramps then you need to understand that you are experiencing a miscarriage. Clots or tissue like substances discharge out of the vagina and this means that the body is getting rid of pregnancy tissue.

To avoid more emotional stress it is best to have a D and C (Dilation and Curettage)or D and E (Dilation and Evacuation) where the gynaecologist will remove the pregnancy sac and tissue in order for you to eventually try pregnancy again.

A Dilation and Evacuation procedure is done in the second trimester of a pregnancy. A Dilation and Curettage is done before.

Don't ignore cramping and bleeding as this is a symptom of miscarriage. If you are lucky enough a blighted ovum could happen without you even knowing that you are pregnant but for most it happens up to 3 months into your pregnancy which is not pleasant and it is encouraged to go and have the D and E to avoid more trauma to your mental state.

Having a miscarriage is something that cannot be prevented and you must know that it is not your fault.

The morning sickness and all the pregnancy symptoms will still be there for a little while but it won't last long after the procedure.

Expect to be in hospital for half a day, once the procedure is done, you will wake up and feel the need to go to the toilet. It will be painful to urinate for about a week.

The emotional pain is worse and it will take some time to heal.

Make sure that you go back to the doctor to check that the procedure went well and get yourself back on track, physically.

Is there a Chance the Baby will Show?

Many women visit the gynaecologist at 5 weeks and he does a scan or internal ultrasound. This will show an empty sac and the gynae will know how wide the sac should be. He will then let you wait a while before you come back to have another scan in order to check for the baby in case it is hiding behind the sac. In most cases women have waited until 10 weeks and a baby has appeared and they continue to have a healthy pregnancy but most end up having a miscarriage later on in their pregnancy which could be even more devastating.

Should you have been for the scan and experienced an empty sac, have bleeding and cramps then please note that you are having a miscarriage and that the baby will not be showing up.

Don't get despondent as it can happen to anyone and it does not spoil your chance of falling pregnant in the future.

Having your gynae do the D and E is a must to ensure that all the pregnancy tissue is removed and it will also prevent infection. Do not have the miscarriage at home by yourself as chances of infection are high and emotionally not worth it.

Many websites and chat rooms will have comments to show that women who have a blighted ovum will see the baby by 10 weeks but should there be bleeding and cramps then there is no chance of it happening and the sooner you come to terms with it the better for you to move forward and try again.

Bleeding with cramps is a miscarriage.... no buts, that is what it is so don't wait.

Trying to figure out why it happened could end up driving you crazy. Go through the process, have a support team beside you and take the time to mourn and let out your sadness.

It is nothing that you have done or should have done differently and sometimes it is due to stress or it is simply not your time to be pregnant.

This does not mean that you will not be able to fall pregnant and you will have a healthy and happy pregnancy some other time.

Hormone levels during pregnancy
Hormone levels during pregnancy

Hormone Levels

HGC levels should rise consistently up to about 10 to 12 weeks of gestation and then they plateau or drop. This is why symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea, tender breasts happen in the first trimester.

This hormone is produced by the cells that will eventually become the placenta.

These levels usually double every 2 to 3 days with an increase of 60%.

It is detected in urine or blood.

Having a low count does not mean you will not have a healthy baby but you need to consult with your gynaecologist.

With a miscarriage or blighted ovum, the hormone levels drop or stay the same which will indicate that it is not going well.

Before you decide to have a baby, take Folic Acid and ensure that you have vitamins and minerals in your body so that you can be super healthy when you decide to try for a baby.

Taking extra care of your health and what you eat or don't eat is important to be able to carry a pregnancy.


Miscarriage and Emotions

After you have miscarried you will want to figure out why it happened, was it something that you did, didn't do or are you and your partner unable to have a baby?


Miscarriage happens and I believe that it is the powers that be that decide if it is your time or not. There is nothing that you could possibly have done to avoid this, it just was not your time to be pregnant.

Take the time to mourn, take the time to heal physically and your emotional state will get better.

For some, it is easy and they can get back on track and go straight into trying again, whilst for others it is difficult and continuously in your mind.

To be healthy emotionally, you have got to let go of the miscarriage and concentrate on other things to keep your mind busy.

Worrying and continuously thinking about the miscarriage or pregnancy will keep the bad energy there and you will find that once you have stopped thinking about it, that is the time when you will fall pregnant.

People say that it is age and yes hormone levels drop when you get older but it has nothing to do with age.

You will feel better in a couple of months and unless you fall pregnant, it will be on your mind all the time.

A friend or family member having a baby, walking past a mom and her baby and simply seeing one in a magazine, could trigger your emotions.

To get yourself emotionally repaired, you have got to understand that it was not your fault and that you too will be a mother of a healthy child one day.

Get active, keep healthy, keep busy and leave it all in God's hands because the more you concentrate on the loss, the worse it will feel for you.

The Pill and Health for Pregnancy

Being on the Pill is not healthy if you are on it for too long. Avoid Yasmin and find something that is not too strong. (You need to ask a doctor for the best one.)

If you have been on the pill for a long time then take a break from it.

Keep yourself fit and healthy, even if you just go for a walk everyday, just to keep the heart pumping well.

Eat nutritious food and avoid alcohol, cigarettes and don't forget to have your folic acid and pregnancy vitamins before you become pregnant.

If you have had a miscarriage then have a half a disprin every day until your doctor tells you not to.

You have got to be stress free when you are pregnant and you have to take the time to relax.

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Comments 17 comments

rose de vico 2 years ago

Had never heard of it before..and the reasons....thank you.

Tashaonthetown profile image

Tashaonthetown 2 years ago from South Africa Author

Yes it is a common problem 2 years ago

My sister is 7 weeks but no heartbeat no baby , I just hope next week there's a baby there .

Tashaonthetown profile image

Tashaonthetown 2 years ago from South Africa Author

If she has had a scan then the doc will be able to see what is going on.

Pray everything is fine as it does sometimes happen that the baby is hiding. She should go for a scan and check.

valerie 22 months ago

I was recently was diagnosed with a blighted ovum. I am scared and confused. They told me i had a choice if the pills ,wait for a miscarriage or a d&c. I am so deeply depressed about this. How can any one live through this?

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Tashaonthetown 21 months ago from South Africa Author

Valerie I am so sorry to hear that and it is a very confusing and emotional thing to go through but you will get through it and it will get easier to live with. Go for the d&c purely because it is less traumatic for you. After the miscarriage you will feel depressed and emotional but you need to understand that it is nothing that you did wrong and there is nothing wrong with you, it just wasn't the right time. Cry, mourn and let it all out, give yourself room to feel the loss but not too much time because the longer you feel bad the longer it will take to fall pregnant again.

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Tashaonthetown 21 months ago from South Africa Author

Sakipi - unfortunately I cannot reprint your comments but I am replying as there are many of us that feel the same way. This blog is about the loss of a pregnancy not out of choice! It is something that just happens and it is a very traumatic experience. I understand how you must feel but do not give up hope and keep your faith as if it is written in a plan for you then it will happen. Stress and worrying about conceiving can just delay the process, so relax, enjoy life and it might work out in your favour.

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Tashaonthetown 21 months ago from South Africa Author

Houng - thank you for your comments, however again I cannot publish them as some of the content would be hurtful to women who are reading this article after experiencing the trauma. I think there is confusion here as having a d&c because you are experiencing a miscarriage is not a choice that a women who is excited about falling pregant wants to make. This is not about abortion but about miscarriage and believe me for the women who have experienced this, abortion is not something that they would agree with.

jelena 18 months ago

I have missed ab yesterday....i m so engry by my self and :(... I hope that i will be a mom

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Tashaonthetown 18 months ago from South Africa Author

Put your life in the hands of God, he will lead the way and if something is meant to be then it will happen for you. Keep healthy stay away from cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, eat lots of fruit and vegetables and you will have no problem falling pregnant again. Also get yourself preg omega tablets and take those daily

phumie 17 months ago

I'm going through the same thing,8weeks pregnant no baby only an empty sac ,I'm going again after 2weeks for another scan ,I feel so helpless and confused

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Tashaonthetown 17 months ago from South Africa Author

Just keep your faith and be strong. Your first scan should be at 3 months pregnant because you might be able to see something then. If you have had no bleeding then it might still be possible that the baby is not yet visible on the scan.

joelia 13 months ago

Yes I'm 8wks pregnant I have cyst on my ovaries and they can't see the baby yet, but they saidy yolk sac looks normal so is it buzz of the cyst I can't see baby yet. I have 3older healthy kids why is this one different I'm 39 yes old

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Tashaonthetown 13 months ago from South Africa Author

8 weeks is sometimes a little too soon to see the baby, wait for your three month scan that will show baby. A cyst does not usually effect you or the baby. Sometimes it just happens that one out of each pregnancy is different to the others, hang in there and we will pray that it all goes well.

Nichole 4 months ago

I'm not quite sure where you got all your information from but you CAN pass a blighted ovum without a D&C. I just passed mine almost 12 weeks. I started spotting brown discharge at 11 weeks and fully passed about 5 days later. It was painful and awful, but I was able to pass it on my own. Your doctor will know what is best for your individual situation. Some women may not be able to pass but some women can. It's a choice to be made between the women, her significant other, and her doctor. Please make sure you do all your research before making a decision about a D&C. There are risks to every miscarriage.

Nichole 4 months ago

Also I think it's very irresponsible for you to TELL someone to have a D&C without knowing their medical background or having any medical background of your own. A D&C carries risks as well such as a uteran perforation, infection, and Asherman's Syndrome (scar tissue that causes infertility). I know a miscarriage is traumatic, I've experienced it first hand, but please do not advise women one way or another without any REAL knowledge. You are going to grieve your loss of pregnancy no matter what form you do.

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Tashaonthetown 4 months ago from South Africa Author

I am not encouraging a D&C but your doctor will make decisions for you. It is often required to do especially after 12weeks as you do not always pass everything and often parts of the placenta stay behind which could affect your next pregnancy. I have extensive knowledge on this topic and my research is 100% accurate especially considering I have been through this too and if you think passing it at home is for you then the dark ages is where you should be living

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