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Robert Wool, MD

Corpus Luteum Cyst

Get the scoop on corpus luteum cysts and other ovarian cysts during pregnancy — and how to keep yourself and baby healthy if you have one.

What is a corpus luteum cyst?
I have a corpus luteum cyst. What the heck is that?

What is a corpus luteum cyst during pregnancy?
If you planned this pregnancy, think back to those days when you scheduled intercourse during your ovulation cycle. You may recall that every time you ovulate, your follicle begins producing large amounts of estrogen and progesterone to get ready for baby. The follicle is now called a corpus luteum (Latin for “yellow body”). If you don’t get pregnant, the corpus luteum will usually break down and become reabsorbed by the body. But if you are pregnant, the corpus luteum may fill with blood or fluid and turn into a cyst.

What are the signs of a corpus luteum cyst during pregnancy?
Your pelvis can sometimes be  painful or tender to the touch. Rarely, but occasionally, the cyst can rupture and cause extreme pain.

Are there any tests for a corpus luteum cyst during pregnancy?
Your doctor might do an ultrasound or blood tests to diagnose your cyst.

How common is a corpus luteum cyst?  
Ovarian cysts, such as a corpus luteum cyst, are pretty common. Most cysts are benign (noncancerous).

How did I get a corpus luteum cyst?
By chance.

How will my corpus luteum cyst affect my baby?
It’s typically harmless and will disappear on its own without any complications. However, it is possible that the cyst will cause the ovary to twist, which may require surgery (see next page for treatments and prevention).

What’s the best way to treat a corpus luteum cyst during pregnancy? Your doc will likely watch you closely to make sure your cyst goes away within a few months.

What can I do to prevent a corpus luteum cyst?
You can’t really, but it’s important that you tell your OB ASAP if you have any of the symptoms of one, so it can be diagnosed as early as possible

What do other pregnant moms do when they have ovarian cysts?
“When my midwife called back last week to follow up after my ultrasound, she mentioned that I have a cyst on my ovary but that it would likely resolve on its own. I guess there’s nothing I can do about it, and for all I know I’ve had them every time I have been pregnant.”

“I had a cyst on my ovary that showed up via ultrasound at 8.5 weeks. I actually knew I had it before that; it was really hurting, so I asked the ultrasound technician to check, and there it was. My midwife just said to take Tylenol and wait for it to go away. It finally stopped hurting around 12 weeks-ish.”

“I have a huge cyst as well on my right ovary. My doctor said it should be fine and resolve on its own around 11-12 weeks when the placenta takes over.”

Are there any other resources for ovarian cysts?
US National Library of Medicine