Also known as an an embryonic pregnancy, a blighted ovum occurs when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterus, but the embryo doesn’t develop. This early miscarriage is often missed altogether, although sometimes you can develop symptoms of pregnancy (a missed period, nausea, even a positive pregnancy test) before you discover there’s no viable pregnancy.
Your doctor may diagnose a blighted ovum with an ultrasound test, which would show either an empty gestational sac or an empty uterus. Blighted ovums make up about half of all first trimester miscarriages. They’re usually caused by a high level of chromosome abnormalities, which may make your body naturally miscarry. Often it’s simply an unfortunate one-time occurrence and does not mean that future pregnancies will be similarly affected.
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