Miscarriage is pregnant mothers’ worst fear. There are several causes of miscarriage, some of them are inevitable. One of the most common causes is blighted ovum. Research found that around one-third of miscarriages which happen within first eight weeks are caused by this condition.
Definition, Signs, and Treatments of Blighted Ovum
Blighted ovum (or also known as anembryonic pregnancy) is early pregnancy failure in which fertilized eggs plants itself onto uterus, but embryo does not develop well or being reabsorbed after developing. Gestation or pregnancy sac is formed, however embryo cannot be found during ultrasound. This condition occurs in the first trimester, usually at seven to twelve weeks of pregnancy. Some mothers are not even aware that they are carrying during the phase.
The cause of blighted ovum is yet known exactly, but research suggests that abnormality of fertilized egg cells is the most possible cause. Mother’s body may reject fertilized egg due to anomalous cell division or low egg and sperm quality as a form of basic survival mechanism. Lifestyle choices are not found to be related to this condition. In many cases, it happens only once for a mother. Since there is no exact cause of this miscarriage type, preventative measures cannot be taken.
There are several symptoms of blighted ovum which are similar to other types of miscarriage. The first sign is vaginal spotting or bleeding. Mother may experience abdominal cramps which is quiet similar to menstrual cramp. Vagina can also expel blood clots or grayish tissue. Another sign is the diminishing of breast ache. Non-developed embryo that is implanted on uterus also causes regular pregnancy symptoms like breast soreness. When this condition occurs, those symptoms disappear.
At times, mother may not be aware that the embryo in their uterus is not developing well. When they are taking pregnancy test, it usually shows positive result because human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone is still produced by the body. The only way to determine whether mother is experiencing anembryonic pregnancy is by ultrasound image. After that, doctor usually requests mother to do follow-up examination to see whether embryo will be developed.
After determining that blighted ovum is indeed happening, doctor then will decide the next course of action with mother. There are several treatments to choose from considering mother’s physical and mental state.
1. Drug-induced Miscarriage
Drug to induce miscarriage can either be taken orally or inserted to mother’s vaginal passage. The bleeding process will start two or three days after taking medication and medication should be halted immediately when it happens. There are some side effects to this drug administration such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramp. After bleeding has stopped, mother is requested to visit doctor once again in order making sure that there is no embryonic tissue left within uterus.
2. Surgical Procedure
Common surgical procedure for removing embryonic tissue is dilation and curettage. Mother will be placed under general anesthesia. In this procedure, cervix mouth is dilated then embryonic tissue is scraped by thin knife or sucked out. The risk of this procedure is relatively low. However, uterus perforation and hemorrhage may occur.
3. Natural Treatment
Natural treatment for this condition is done by waiting miscarriage to happen without inducing it. The process can take up to two weeks. This type of method can avoid risks related to surgery and drug usage. Mother is still asked to visit doctor after bleeding stop to ensure that any tissue has been removed from uterus canal.
To speed up recovery after treatment, mother is suggested to rest as much as possible. It is also important to eat nutritious food, especially one that highly contains protein and vitamins to rebuild body cells. Mother can also do calming exercise like yoga in order to regain mental and physical balance. Hopefully, after this blighted ovum experience they can recover well and wish for better future.