What is an ectopic pregnancy ?
Pregnancy is the sequential event that happens in the women’s body starting from fertilization till delivery. One of these is when a fertilized egg travels to the uterus to attach itself. In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg doesn’t attach to the uterus. Instead, it may attach to the fallopian tube, abdominal cavity, or cervix. Sperm and the egg fuse to form an embryo in the fallopian tube. The embryo grows in the tube for 3 to 4 days and then travels towards uterine cavity, enters the cavity and implants there. If the embryo fails to travel and stays in the tube or travels to abnormal places like abdominal cavity, Ovaries, Cervix then is actually is an Ectopic Pregnancy.
While a pregnancy test may reveal a woman is pregnant, a fertilized egg can’t properly grow anywhere other than the uterus.
Incidence of ectopic pregnancy is 3 to 4 %.
An untreated ectopic pregnancy can be a medical emergency. Prompt treatment reduces your risk of complications from the ectopic pregnancy, increases your chances for future, healthy pregnancies, and reduces future health complications.
The cause of an ectopic pregnancy isn’t always clear. In some cases, the following conditions have been linked with an ectopic pregnancy:
Are you at Risk ?
All sexually active women are at some risk for an ectopic pregnancy. Risk factors increase with any of the following:
If you have any of the above risk factors, talk to Dr. Usha.B.R,the fertility specialist to minimize the risks for future ectopic pregnancies.
Nausea and breast soreness are common symptoms in but the following symptoms are more common in an ectopic pregnancy and can indicate a medical emergency:
You should contact us for immediate treatment if you know that you’re pregnant and have any of these symptoms.
Diagnosing an ectopic pregnancy
If you suspect you may have an ectopic pregnancy, call us for appointment immediately. Ectopic pregnancies can’t be diagnosed from a physical exam. However, you may still require to perform one to rule out other factors. Another step to diagnosis is a transvaginal ultrasound.
Your may also need to do a blood test to check your levels of HCG. If these hormone levels start to increase or stay the same over the course of a few days and a gestational sac isn’t present in an ultrasound, the pregnancy is likely ectopic.
If you’re having severe symptoms, such as significant pain or bleeding, there may not be enough time to complete all these steps. The fallopian tube could rupture in extreme cases, causing severe internal bleeding. We may have to perform an emergency surgery to provide immediate treatment.
Treating ectopic pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancies aren’t safe for the mother. Also, the embryo won’t be able to develop to term. It’s necessary to remove the embryo as soon as possible for the mother’s immediate health and long-term fertility.
If we decide that immediate complications are unlikely. In this case, Dr. Usha.B.R may prescribe medications that could keep the ectopic mass from bursting. one common medication for this is methotrexate (Rheumatrex). The medication will cause symptoms that are similar to that of a miscarriage. These include:
Further surgery is rarely required after this occurs. Methotrexate doesn’t carry the same risks of fallopian tube damage that come with surgery. You won’t be able to get pregnant for several months after taking this medication, however.
It is suggested that removing the embryo and repairing any internal damage would help restore the further fertility life of the women by performing a procedure called laparoscopy. If the tube is ruptured, it needs to be removed.
Post Procedure care
You will be given specific instructions regarding the care of your incisions after surgery. The chief goals are to keep your incisions clean and dry while they heal. Check them daily for infection signs, which could include:
You can expect some light vaginal bleeding and small blood clots after surgery. This can occur up to six weeks after your procedure. Other self-care measures you can take include:
Always notify us immediately if your pain increases or you feel something is out of the ordinary.
The long-term outlook after an ectopic pregnancy depends on whether it caused any physical damage. Most people who have ectopic pregnancies go on to have healthy pregnancies. If both fallopian tubes are still intact, or even just one, the egg can be fertilized as normal. However, if you have a pre existing reproductive problem, that can affect your future fertility and increase your risk of future ectopic pregnancy. This is especially the case if the pre existing reproductive problem has previously led to an ectopic pregnancy.
Pregnancy loss, no matter how early, can be devastating. Take care of yourself after this loss through rest, eating healthy foods, and exercising when possible. Give yourself time to grieve.
Remember that many women go on to have healthy pregnancies and babies. When you’re ready, we will guide you about ways you can ensure that your future pregnancy is a healthy one.