What you need to know about Ectopic Pregnancy

There are several steps involved in pregnancy, from fertilization to delivery. One of them is the process by which a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus. In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg may attach to the fallopian tube, abdomen, or cervix instead of the uterus.

In cases as such the egg needs to be removed so it’s not possible to save the pregnancy. In the US, it’s been seen that around one in every 90 pregnancies in the UK is ectopic. That’s about 11,000 pregnancies per year. 

So, you can say that an untreated ectopic pregnancy won’t take long to become a serious medical emergency if not treated soon. Prompt treatment increases the chances of healthy future pregnancies and reduced the risk of complications. 


Ectopic Pregnancy: Symptoms

There are no symptoms associated with an ectopic pregnancy; it may only be detected by a routine pregnancy scan. If you do experience symptoms, they usually appear between the 4th and 12th week of pregnancy. Early symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are very similar to those of a typical pregnancy.

Some of the symptoms include:

  1. Vaginal Bleeding
  2. Weakness and dizziness
  3. Brown watery discharge
  4. Discomfort when peeing or pooing
  5. Pain in the tip of your shoulder or tummy pain in one side

Symptoms of a burst tube include sharp lower abdominal pain. Contact your health care provider or go to the emergency room right away if you experience these symptoms.


Ectopic Pregnancy: Where does it happen?

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when your fertilized egg implants outside your uterus. As an egg travels down your fallopian tubes and embeds itself in your uterine wall, where it will develop, an ectopic pregnancy occurs when it implants in one of the structures along the way. The fallopian tubes are the most common place for an ectopic pregnancy to take place. Most ectopic pregnancies occur here – referred to as tubal ectopic pregnancies.

Ectopic pregnancy can also occur on other organs in your abdominal cavity that is not in your fallopian tubes. This is a more rare kind of ectopic pregnancy.


Ectopic Pregnancy: Treatment

You are closely monitored if you develop an ectopic pregnancy, and if the fertilised egg does not dissolve on its own then medicine like methotrexate is injected into the body to stop the pregnancy from growing or keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) is performed under general anaesthesia to remove the fertilised egg and the affected fallopian tube.

In addition, you should get regular blood tests to ensure the medication is having the desired effect. When the medication is effective, it will cause symptoms similar to a miscarriage, such as cramps, bleeding, or tissue passing.

The fallopian tubes are rarely damaged after this occurs with methotrexate, which does not carry the same risks that come with surgery. You will not be able to get pregnant for several months after taking this medication, however.

In case of surgery, a small camera will be inserted through a small incision so the surgeon can see what he or she is doing. Once the embryo has been removed, the fallopian tube will be repaired. If the surgery is unsuccessful, a laparotomy may be repeated by your doctor through a larger incision if needed. If the fallopian tube is damaged, your doctor may have to remove it during surgery as well.

Although many women are still able to conceive naturally, some treatments may reduce your chances of doing so in the future.


Ectopic Pregnancy: How serious is it?

The uterus has been uniquely designed to hold a growing fetus. It expands and stretches as the fetus grows. When the fertilized egg develops in your fallopian tubes then they can burst, causing you to experience heavy internal bleeding. Your fallopian tubes aren’t as flexible as your uterus.

A fallopian tube injury, internal bleeding, and death are all possible outcomes of an ectopic pregnancy if not treated quickly.


Ectopic Pregnancy: Prevention

In some cases, prediction and prevention can’t be achieved. Taking good care of your reproductive health may reduce your risk. Make sure your partner wears a condom during sex and limit how many sexual partners you have. This reduces the possibility that STDs can cause PID, an inflammation of the fallopian tubes.

It is important to consider whether or not a pregnancy caused any physical damage after an ectopic pregnancy. Most women who experience an ectopic pregnancy have healthy pregnancies if both fallopian tubes remain intact. 

An egg can be fertilized normally if both fallopian tubes are intact. Pregnancy loss can be devastating, no matter how early. Take care of yourself after a loss by eating healthy food and exercising.


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