Blighted Ovum: How Long Will it Take to Miscarry?

I had a vaginal ultrasound in my seventh week of pregnancy and was told that they could not find a heartbeat and were certain I will lose my baby. That was a week ago and I still have no cramping or bleeding. My doctor is doing blood tests to confirm the results. He told me he doesn't like to do a D&C and thinks that things will resolve on their own. I was wondering how long it takes to have a miscarriage when there is no medical intervention?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Most likely, this is a "blighted ovum," which is a fertilized ovum that never developed into an embryo. Your body may reabsorb it and you may never "pass it" or bleed. A period may occur, which could be heavier or contain clots.

There is really no way of estimating how long a miscarriage may take, however, most resolve by two to four weeks.

If no heartbeat was seen at seven weeks, another ultrasound should be done at eight to nine weeks just to make sure. It is also prudent to have hCG levels taken, 36 to 48 hours apart, to watch for a lack of significant rise.

If possible, it is best to let this happen on its own because instrumentation could result in scarring, which then has the potential to cause other problems. But, your emotional health is important, too, and you are well within your rights to voice your preferences and concerns to your care provider.

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