Ectopic Pregnancy: what To Know

A fertilized egg usually attaches to your uterine lining. But with an ectopic pregnancy (also called extrauterine pregnancy), the fertilized egg grows outside your uterus. This can include other areas like a fallopian tube, the ovaries, in your belly, or the lower part of your cervix, which is above the vagina. More than 90% of the time, an egg will attach itself to a fallopian tub. Tubal pregnancy is also known.

It is hard to estimate the rates, but one study shows that around 1 in 50 U.S. pregnancies may be ectopic. It can rupture (burst) as the fertilized eggs grow and cause serious bleeding. This is a serious condition that requires immediate attention. You should immediately treat the condition. It could be fatal. Ectopic pregnancies, which are most common in pregnancy-related death during the first trimester, actually account for the majority of these deaths.

The fertilized egg from an ectopic baby isn't viable. This means that it can't survive outside of your body and become a normal human being. This will result in pregnancy loss. Because the egg is unable to get enough blood supply outside the uterus, it will always result in a loss of pregnancy.

Signs and symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy

Most often, an ectopic baby occurs within the first couple of weeks. Sometimes you may not know that your pregnancy is occurring and might not feel any symptoms.

An ectopic pregnancy is a sign of trouble.

Ectopic pregnancy could cause your fallopian tubes to burst. You may experience severe pain and bleeding, or even major discomfort. Call your doctor right away if you have heavy vaginal bleeding with lightheadedness, fainting, or shoulder pain, or if you have severe belly pain, especially on one side.

To get it checked out immediately, you might have to call 911.

Ectopic Pregnancy Risk Factors and Causes

It is possible that you may not know the reason for your ectopic pregnancy. A damaged fallopian tube could be one reason. The damaged fallopian tube could stop the fertilized eggs from entering your uterus.

If you are:

Ectopic Pregnancy Complications

The fertilized egg can be wrapped in a structure to grow outside of your uterus during an ectopic pregnancy. The structure bursts usually between six and sixteen weeks. It can lead to severe bleeding. Your body may shut down from the blood loss. It's rare for it to cause death if it is treated quickly.

The structure could burst and cause damage to the fallopian tubes it was attached. During the procedure, your doctor may remove the fallopian tubes. There are two fallopian tubes. Your other fallopian tube should be healthy so you can still get pregnant. If your other fallopian tubes are damaged, or absent altogether, it is possible to have fertility problems. Talk to your doctor about IVF (in vitro fertilation) as an option.

Diagnostics for Ectopic Pregnancy

A doctor may order a pregnancy test or a pelvic exam . An ultrasound may be performed to examine your fallopian tubes and uterus.

Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment

A fertilized egg cannot survive without a uterus. Your doctor will have to remove it so that you do not develop serious health issues. The doctor will use either medication or surgery.

Medication. A shot of methotrexate can be given by your doctor if the fallopian tubes haven't burst and you are not pregnant. One dose is all that's required. The injection stops fertilized eggs from growing. The egg will be absorbed by your body in approximately 4-6 weeks. This treatment will not require you to take out your fallopian tube.

Your doctor will run some blood tests in order to determine your human chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) levels before you are allowed to take methotrexate. This is the hormone that your body releases when you become pregnant. You won't be able to take methotrexate if you're breastfeeding or have certain health problems.

After you have received the shot, your doctor will test for hCG during any follow-up visits. You may need to take another dose if your levels do not drop following the initial dose. You should continue to monitor your body until you have no more hCG.

You should note that the use of methotrexate doesn't mean you are getting a medical abortive procedure. Two prescription drugs are required to perform a medical abortion: misoprostol or mifepristone.

Methotrexate is required for medical reasons if you have an ectopic baby. You can decrease your chances of dying and other serious complications.

Surgery. Other cases may require surgery. Laparoscopy is the most popular. To remove an ectopic baby, your doctor will cut small holes in the lower abdomen and place a flexible thin tube known as a laparoscope. Your doctor may need to also remove your fallopian tube if it is inoperable. Your doctor may recommend emergency surgery to repair your fallopian tubes if you are bleeding heavily or suspect that you have ruptured them. It is known as a laparotomy.

Side effects of surgery can include:

No matter if you have methotrexate treatment or not, it is possible to feel tired and uncomfortable for some time. It is possible to experience some pregnancy symptoms. You might feel normal again after a few periods.

Ectopic pregnancy after a previous one

After a fallopian tube removal, it might prove difficult to get a normal pregnancy. If you have had your fallopian tubes removed, it is worth speaking to a fertility specialist.

Talk to your doctor to determine how long you should wait to try again. For your body to heal properly, experts recommend that you give yourself at most 3 months.

A higher chance of an ectopic birth means you are more likely to have another. You should be aware of changes occurring in your body when you believe you might have another baby. Your doctor can verify it, and will take necessary actions.

Ectopic pregnancies can also have a negative impact on mental health. Do not hesitate to contact mental health professionals such as a counselor or therapist.

It is impossible to avoid an ectopic baby. You can reduce your chances by making certain lifestyle decisions.

You can: