Blighted Ovum: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A blighted ovum occurs when a fertilized egg attaches to the inside of the uterus but does not develop into a baby. It is also known as an anembryonic pregnancy. It is usually caused by a mistake in the material of the egg or sperm or the combination of both. Stress, exercise, or sex does not cause this problem. There is nothing you could have done to prevent it.

You are likely to miscarry—pass the ovum tissue—by the end of your first trimester. Medicine may be used to help the tissue pass. A process called dilation and curettage (D&C) is sometimes used to remove the tissue.

Your body will recover over the next several weeks. Having a miscarriage does not mean that you cannot have a normal pregnancy in the future.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • You will probably have vaginal bleeding, similar to a period, for up to a week. Use pads instead of tampons. You may use tampons during your next period, which should start in 3 to 6 weeks.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) for cramps. Read and follow all instructions on the label. You may have cramps for several days after the miscarriage.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Your doctor may want you to collect tissue that you might pass. Use a clear container. Take it to your doctor's office as soon as you can.
  • Do not have sex until the bleeding stops.
  • You may return to your normal activities if you feel well enough to do so. But you should avoid heavy exercise until the bleeding stops.
  • If you plan to get pregnant again, check with your doctor. Most doctors suggest waiting until you have had at least one normal period before you try to get pregnant.
  • If you do not want to get pregnant, ask your doctor about birth control. You can get pregnant again before your next period starts if you are not using birth control.
  • You may be low in iron because of blood loss. Eat a balanced diet that is high in iron and vitamin C. Foods rich in iron include red meat, shellfish, eggs, beans, and leafy green vegetables. Talk to your doctor about whether you need to take iron pills or a multivitamin.
  • The loss of a pregnancy can be very hard. You may wonder why it happened and blame yourself. Talking to family members, friends, a counsellor, or your doctor may help you cope with your loss.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have sudden, severe pain in your belly or pelvis.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have severe vaginal bleeding. This means that you are soaking through your usual pads every hour for 2 or more hours.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have new or increased belly pain.
  • You have vaginal discharge that smells bad.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You pass tissue (not just blood).
  • You feel very sad or are not able to function.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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