Blighted ovum



An outdated term for a specific type of pregnancy that leads to an early miscarriage.


Blighted ovum is now known as an anembryonic pregnancy. It happens when an embryo never forms or when it stops forming and is resorbed by the body. The reason this happens is often not known. But it may be due to problems with chromosomes, the structures that contain genes, in the fertilized egg.


Anembryonic pregnancy symptoms may include tender breasts, upset stomach and vomiting. But when the embryo stops growing and hormone levels fall, pregnancy symptoms often fade. At this point, a person may have mild cramping or pelvic pain and light spotting or bleeding from the vagina.


Treatment aims to manage the miscarriage that happens with anembryonic pregnancy. Some people choose to wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally. Others take prescription medicine to trigger it. In some cases, a procedure called dilation and curettage is used to suction pregnancy-related tissues from the uterus.