A blighted ovum is a condition that features with the proper attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterine wall but the embryo inside the egg does not develop. The condition is also known as anembryonic pregnancy and in majority of women it ends with a miscarriage. There is chance that the condition is not really blighted ovum so the woman ends her pregnancy without any reasonable cause. Still the misdiagnosis is possible but it does not happen in many cases.
Misdiagnosed Blighted Ovum
The doctors believe that the best way to avoid a misdiagnosed blighted ovum is to wait with the ultrasonography until the 11th or the 12th week of pregnancy. Still in case of the certain complications such as infections or pain ultrasonography should be performed earlier.
HCG or human Chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone that is normally present in pregnancy. Its level is determined and can be easily monitored through blood tests. In case of blighted ovum this hormone can be elevated in the beginning but it does decrease eventually. But there are precautions that have to be taken into consideration. The hCG level is not so reliable predictor of miscarriage in case that the gestational sac has already been noticed. This does not count if the level of this hormone starts to decrease rapidly. Additionally, this hormone tends to increase until the eight week of pregnancy and then it maintains the same level and finally it starts dropping. This is why this hormone cannot be taken as a reliable indicator of blighted ovum.
In many women the gestational sac may appear one or two weeks behind. This can be easily explained by the very position of the uterus. In the second trimester this disproportion vanishes. But in all the women whose sac is not normally sized in the beginning additional ultrasound should be performed in a week. The good sign is if the sac has grown from the last examination. The sac normally grows 1 mm per day.
In some women the size of the gestational sac is appropriate. But there is no embryo visible. In some women the sac was even 21.5 mm and there was no embryo in it. But a week later the embryo was perfectly visible. The bottom line is that the first examination does not have to be the permanent one and additional ultrasound may reveal that there is no problem at all.
And sometimes even the second opinion may be helpful. Another doctor may be more experienced in interpretation of the ultrasound results.
In the conclusion only the time will tell if the diagnosis is correctly set or the condition has been misdiagnoses. The majority of blighted ovum can be seen until the 10th week of the pregnancy and this is why women tend to wait until that period of time to end their pregnancies. The woman is the one who makes the final decision on whether to stop the pregnancy in 10th week or to wait a little longer.