A pregnancy is called “ectopic” when it grows outside the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancies are rare but serious, warranting immediate treatment.
What is an ectopic pregnancy?
After a fertilized egg travels through your fallopian tube and attaches to then innermost lining of your uterus, a normal pregnancy develops. Ectopic pregnancy is when the pregnancy attaches somewhere outside your uterus.Ectopic pregnancy can be located anywhere in your belly like in ovaries, cervix, previous cesarean scar etc. but the most common site of ectopic pregnancy is the fallopian tubes— that’s why it is also known as “tubal pregnancy.”
Ectopic pregnancies are rare occurring in approximately 2 percent of pregnancies. But they’re very dangerous if left untreated. A growing tubal ectopic pregnancy can lead to rupture in the walls of the tube (known as ruptured ectopic) if not treated on time. This ultimately leads to internal bleeding causing a state of shock and if left untreated, can be a cause of death.
Am I at risk of an ectopic pregnancy?
The exact cause of ectopic pregnancy is not always known. But the chances of ectopic pregnancy are increased if you:
- Havea history of sexually transmitted disease, pelvic inflammatory disease or ovarian cyst
- Have already had an ectopic pregnancy in the past
- Havea history of pelvic or abdominal surgery
- Are older than 35 years
- Smoke cigarettes
- Become pregnant after sterilization or with your IUD in situ.
Can I conceive again after an ectopic pregnancy?
Yes. Most women who have had an ectopic pregnancy in the past can have healthy pregnancies. But, the chances of ectopic pregnancy are also increased. It depends on the present condition of your fallopian tubes. Presence of even one healthy tube can give you a healthy pregnancy whereas a damaged or scarred tube will lead to future ectopic pregnancy.
How do I know if I have an ectopic pregnancy or not?
There is no test that you can do by yourself to check for ectopic pregnancy. A proper consultation with your doctor is the best way to know for sure if you have an ectopic pregnancy. Your doctor will do a pelvic examination, blood tests and ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis.The sooner you get rid of an ectopic pregnancy, the better. So if you have any doubt about your pregnancy, visit your doctor right away.
What are the symptomsof an ectopic pregnancy?
In the very beginning,ectopic pregnancy seems like any other normal pregnancy, with typical symptoms like missed period, heaviness or tendernessin breasts, fatigue, and nausea. Symptoms peculiar to ectopic pregnancy include:
- severe pain in lower belly, especially on one side
- vaginal bleeding or spotting after missed periods
- shoulder pain may be present sometimes
- feeling of weakness, dizziness, or fainting
If you have severe pain in your belly or bleeding after your missed periods, you should go to the hospital immediately. The earlier an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed and treated, the safer you’ll be.
What are the treatment options for an ectopic pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy cannot survive for long because it is in an abnormal location where it can’t grow fully. If left untreated it can lead to the rupture of the adjoining tissue and ultimately grave complications.
The treatment of ectopic pregnancy can be medical or surgical:
- In medical management, the doctors give you methotrexate injection that ends the on going pregnancy. Multiple injection shots might be required at times to complete the procedure. The degenerated tissue is slowly absorbed.Medical management does not affect the fallopian tubes.
- In surgical management, laparoscopy is the preferred option. In this, a small cut is made near your belly button, and the pregnancy is removed completely using small surgical tools and camera.If your fallopian tube is found damages then it is also removed in the same sitting. Laparoscopic treatment is safe, cost-effective, with faster recovery postop.
You can discuss with your doctor about the best treatment option for you.
How do I feel after an ectopic pregnancy?
Ectopic pregnancy removal is like any other early pregnancy loss. Mostly people have the same feelings asthose who experience other kinds of pregnancy loss, especially if they wanted to be pregnant.
You may have mixed emotions, including disappointment, shock, fear, grief, and/or relief. Don’t worry, all these are normal, and usually feel less intense over time.
Ectopic Pregnancy is said to have when the egg attaches itself to anywhere outside (like fallopian tubes) the uterus. These are also called as the Tubular pregnancy. The symptoms of the pregnancy will have symptoms like missed period, vaginal bleeding, and belly pain. There are no chances of the survival of the baby as the pregnancy can’t survive outside the uterus.
Early Ectopic pregnancy can be managed by medicines like methotrexate. But if the Hcg levels are higher, then the surgery is the alternative. Laproscopy can be the treatment procedure as it involves a small incision and there will be no damage to the fallopian tubes.