What is Empty Pregnancy? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Understanding Empty Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Empty pregnancy, clinically known as a “blighted ovum,” is a condition where a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop. Despite the gestational sac forming, the absence of embryonic development characterizes this unique and often emotionally challenging situation in pregnancy.

What is Empty Pregnancy?

Empty pregnancy, or blighted ovum, occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, resulting in the formation of a gestational sac without a developing embryo. This condition is not a viable pregnancy and typically ends in spontaneous miscarriage.

Causes of Blighted Ovum

The exact causes of blighted ovum are not always clear. Chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilized egg are often implicated, leading to incomplete embryo development. Maternal age, hormonal imbalances, and structural abnormalities in the uterus may contribute to the occurrence of empty pregnancy.

Symptoms of Blighted Ovum

While some women with blighted ovum may experience typical pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness and morning sickness, the absence of fetal growth is a significant indicator. Vaginal bleeding, spotting, and cramping may also occur.

Diagnosing Blighted Ovum

Blighted ovum is typically diagnosed through ultrasound imaging. The absence of a developing embryo within the gestational sac is a key indicator. Serial ultrasounds may be performed to confirm the lack of embryonic growth.

Treatment for Blighted Ovum

In most cases, the body recognizes the nonviable pregnancy, leading to a spontaneous miscarriage. However, medical intervention, such as a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure, may be recommended if the body does not expel the pregnancy naturally. Emotional support and counseling are crucial components of the treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When does bleeding start in blighted ovum? Bleeding in blighted ovum can start spontaneously or may be induced through medical interventions. It varies from woman to woman and can occur at different stages of the pregnancy.

2. At what week is blighted ovum detected? Blighted ovum is often detected during the first trimester through routine ultrasound examinations, usually around the 7th to 12th week of gestation.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.

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