Anembryonic Pregnancy

Anembryonic Pregnancy is rather unusual. The question begs, how does it happen and what does it mean?

Anembryonic pregnancy is also called blighted ovum. It happens when an early embryo is resorbed, stops or never grows, and exits the gestational sac empty. The cause of this is frequently unknown, but it might be brought on by chromosomal issues in the fertilized egg.

An anembryonic pregnancy typically develops early in pregnancy, sometimes even before you are aware that you are carrying a child. However, a positive pregnancy test or a missing menstrual cycle may have made you aware of your early pregnancy. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a pregnancy hormone, is secreted by the developing early embryo until the embryo stops growing and does not implant.

When does Anembryonic Pregnancy happen?

Anembryonic pregnancy in the first trimester of pregnancy causes an early miscarriage. A fertilized egg develops into a blastocyst during the fetal stage. This blastocyst implants in the uterine wall at about four weeks of pregnancy and grows into an embryo. The gestational sac that would normally hold the embryo grows when you have a blighted ovum even though there isn’t an embryo within. These things can happen:

  • Because a blighted ovum occurs so early in pregnancy, you may not even be aware that you are expecting
  • You have indicators of pregnancy and a positive pregnancy test, but your first ultrasound reveals a blighted ovum
  • You take a pregnancy test and find out you’re pregnant; nevertheless, you miscarry.

Symptoms of Anembryonic Pregnancy 

In the first trimester of pregnancy, anembryonic pregnancy causes an early miscarriage. A fertilized egg develops into a blastocyst during the fetal stage. A blighted ovum can happen at roughly four weeks of pregnancy, which can happen so early that you weren’t aware you were pregnant. In other situations, you can experience pregnancy symptoms like missing menstruation or a pregnancy test that is positive. Early pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and sensitive breasts are possible.

Other times, you may experience symptoms similar to a miscarriage:

  • Vaginal Bleeding – hemorrhage, passing pale gray tissue, or spotting (light bleeding).
  • Cramps – Mild to moderate cramping in the area of your pelvis and abdomen.

Using ultrasound, a blighted ovum can only be verified. It will display a gestational sac without an embryo inside of it.

Causes of Anembryonic Pregnancy

Typically, chromosomal or genetic issues during cell division result in an anembryonic pregnancy. The egg will start to divide during conception immediately after the sperm has fertilized it. The embryo has formed from the cells about 10 days later. The embryo in a blighted ovum either never develops or continues to grow after it does.

How does Anembryonic Pregnancy lead to Miscarriage?

Vaginal bleeding and cramps are signs of an anembryonic pregnancy miscarriage. Typically, a miscarriage is more painful than a typical menstrual period. For cramp relief, you can take an over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen. Avoid doing any hard exercise or lifting anything heavy because this can make your bleeding worse. After a miscarriage, you could endure spotting for several weeks.

Diagnosing Anembryonic Pregnancy

An anembryonic pregnancy will be identified by your healthcare professional through transvaginal ultrasonography. This occurs between seven and nine weeks into the first trimester of pregnancy. At this point in the pregnancy, an embryo should be seen. The gestational sac of a failed ovum will be empty.

  • As you would for a pelvic exam, you will recline on an examination table and put your feet in stirrups. To view the contents of your uterus, your healthcare professional will insert an ultrasound probe into your vagina.
  • An empty sac, resembling a bubble, is how a blighted ovum will be visible.

Many times, individuals are unaware that they have a blighted ovum. This is due to the hormones that your placenta continues to release, which allow your body to believe you are pregnant. This is also the reason why you may still experience pregnancy-related symptoms, such as a positive pregnancy test.

Your healthcare professional will utilize ultrasound to examine the contents of your uterus in order to determine whether or not you have a blighted ovum if you have already had bleeding or indicators of a miscarriage.

Some medical professionals will take many blood samples to measure your body’s hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels. Because it can only be created while you are pregnant, HCG is sometimes referred to as the pregnancy hormone (this is what the pregnancy test device detects when you urinate).

Treatments of Anembryonic Pregnancy

Some people may not require therapy since their bodies naturally pass the embryo through their vagina (a miscarriage). There are more ways to get rid of the contents of your uterus if your body does not miscarry the embryo. Your healthcare professional will go over various therapies with you:

  • Dilation and Curettage – pregnancy tissues from your uterus, your healthcare professional will dilate, or open, the cervix while using suction and medical equipment. General anesthetic or sedation are used for this procedure.
  • Natural Miscarriage – You might be able to observe and wait to see if your body eventually sheds the pregnancy tissues if it’s safe to do so. Sometimes, it can take days or even weeks for this to begin. If this is a possibility for you, your doctor will let you know. Once the miscarriage starts, you’ll suffer cramps, stomach pain, and bleeding.
  • Medication-induces Miscarriage – Misoprostol may be prescribed to you in order to cause your body to miscarry. This expedites the procedure and cuts down on the time spent waiting for a miscarriage to begin naturally. After taking the drug, you will experience cramping, abdominal pain, and bleeding between 30 minutes to ten hours.


Anembryonic pregnancy is a pregnancy that has barely begun. It had the chance to develop, only that it didn’t. This phenomenon is also called a blighted ovum. It seems unfortunate, yes. But I hope you do not stop trying here. This marks a possibility of conception and maybe the second time is yours. Always remember that it is important to be in touch with your OBGYN for future health concerns after experiencing this.