Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, most of the time in a fallopian tube. Positive Health Wellness This usually occurs because something slows or blocks the movement of the fertilized egg into the uterus. Most ectopic pregnancies are a big risk to the mother, but if caught early can be treated with surgery.

Ectopic pregnancy can happen to any woman but is more common among women with a history of endometriosis which is a condition where endometrial-like cells appear and flourish in areas outside the uterine cavity wich causes pain in the pelvic area and legs. Pelvic inflammatory disease which is inflammation of the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries. Having tubal surgery and then conceiving after the hysterectomy can also increase the risks of an ectopic pregnancy by 60 percent. Also included in the at-risk group are those who got pregnant while using progesterone-only birth control pills, women who used a morning-after pill that failed to work and women who became pregnant with an IUD in place. Although with newer IUDs, especially the hormonal ones, the chance of an ectopic pregnancy is a lot lower. Usually after having and being treated for an ectopic pregnancy more than 50 percent of women will conceive and have a normal pregnancy within a year.

So, now that we know who is generally at risk for ectopic pregnancies. How do you know if you are currently carrying one? Ectopic pregnancies have many symptoms, but they might not seem out of the ordinary to some which is why consulting your doctor during pregnancy is very important for any woman and their baby. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include pain on one side of your abdomen and abnormal bleeding. If you notice these symptoms inform your doctor, an ultrasound might be necessary in order to diagnose the ectopic pregnancy. However if the pregnancy does go unnoticed you are at very high risk for the fallopian tubes to burst since they aren’t designed to carry a fertilized egg. If your fallopian tube ruptures, you may experience nausea and vomiting, dizziness or weakness, severe abdominal pain, rectal pressure, shoulder pain, heavier bleeding, and fainting. If any of these more severe symptoms ever happen a doctor needs to be notified immediately. If the ectopic pregnancy goes unnoticed and the fallopian tube ruptures as mentioned above then that tube will no longer be able to function and will need surgery to remove the tissue and avoid further damage and internal bleeding. The good news is a normal in utero pregnancy is still possible for many women.

Remember to always let your practitioner know about any painful cramps during pregnancy especially if bleeding or spotting precedes the cramping. About 1 to 2.5 percent of all pregnancies are ectopic, most are caught early and have nothing to worry about. After having an ectopic pregnancy women will have a 15 percent chance of having another ectopic pregnancy, but many go on to have a perfectly normal and otherwise healthy pregnancy.

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