Ectopic pregnancy is not very common. One percent of pregnancies can be ectopic in the US. A pregnancy is considered to be ectopic when a fertilized egg implants in fallopian tubes or any other related regions instead of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy is a serious health condition as it risks the mother’s life. There should be emergency medical treatment and follow-up for the welfare of the mother. In normal cases, the fertilized egg started growing and developing an ion wall or lining of the uterus. In Ectopic pregnancy, the same will grow outside the uterus which is not elastic like the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy may occur in the fallopian tubes, ovary, abdominal cavity, or cervix. The fallopian tube is the common destination of ectopic pregnancy and which is called a tube-pregnancy.
Is ectopic pregnancy a serious condition?
An ectopic pregnancy can’t survive anyway. It will become complicated if not addressed medically and intervened on time. The growing egg may cause bleeding which can be life-threatening if not treated. Doctors consider ectopic pregnancy a medical emergency. The uterus is an organ that can have elastic properties. Any other organs cannot hold the baby and they may burst while the tissue is growing. Ectopic pregnancy should be diagnosed within the first few weeks of pregnancy, or it will go life-threatening.
Risk factors to be considered
Even though we cannot clearly define the causes and possibilities for having an ectopic pregnancy, there are a few risk factors that may lead to it. It will be good to have diagnostic tests if you fall under the following categories.
- History of ectopic pregnancy.
- Past diagnosis of pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Surgery on a pelvic area, especially on fallopian tubes.
- Treatment for infertility.
- Sexually transmitted infections that are untreated.
- Birth control measures such as IUDs and contraceptives.
- Age above 35.
What are the common symptoms of ectopic pregnancy?
Early signs of pregnancy such as missed periods and morning sickness, and nausea will be there for ectopic pregnancy too. It will show positive when you take pregnancy tests. Usually, the symptoms will get severe when the fertilized egg started growing. Vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, shoulder pain, frequent urination, and bowel discomfort, fainting, low blood pressure, are considered emergency symptoms that need medical intervention.
Diagnosing ectopic pregnancy
If your healthcare providers found the given symptoms, they may conduct a diagnosis to ensure the ectopic pregnancy. A urine test or blood test will be consisted to confirm pregnancy. An imaging test or ultrasound exam is the usual method to confirm the position of the fetus and confirm an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy can be discovered during the first weeks of the pregnancy itself. Usually, it is discovered in the first trimester.
Preventing ectopic pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy can occur naturally and genetically and can be age-related. Certain risk factors may also cause ectopic pregnancy. Here are a few tips that can be followed to prevent ectopic pregnancy
Stay away from sexually transmitted infections
Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, human papillomavirus, chlamydia, and genital herpes may cause ectopic pregnancy as they restrict the movement of the fallopian tube. It is suggested to reduce the risk of STIs to prevent an ectopic pregnancy. Being sexually hygienic is very important. Usage of condoms during sex, and limiting the number of sexual partners can also reduce the risk of STIs.
Early diagnosis if you have a history
It is mandatory to monitor the symptoms and have proper checkups if you have a history of ectopic pregnancy. Studies suggested that a person with ectopic pregnancy is likely to repeat the same. Early detection can prevent complications and health problems. It is just a possibility and there is no need to lose hope. In most cases, it is normal.
Smoking is considered to be an important factor that causes ectopic pregnancy. It is suggested to quit smoking before you think about pregnancy. At least go for reducing the number.
Is it possible to continue ectopic pregnancy?
There are no possibilities for continuing the ectopic pregnancy as it is mortal for the fetus. The fetus cannot grow outside the uterus. It will become fatal for the mother if left untreated. The organ to which the fertilized egg is attached may burst and cause internal bleeding. It is life-threatening for the mother.
Treating ectopic pregnancy
Treatment for ectopic pregnancy determines based on the size and position of the growth. It is common to use methotrexate medicine to stop the growth of the fertilized egg. Methotrexate is usually given as an injection. Surgery will be recommended according to the top of the condition of the fallopian tube. If the tube bursts or cracks, it needs surgery. The surgery is an emergency as it is life-saving. It is possible to be done through laparoscopy.