An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies are rare – occurring in only 1-2% of all pregnancies – but they can be dangerous because they can cause serious internal bleeding. If you think you may be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, it is important to get medical help right away. In this blog post, we will explain everything you need to know about ectopic pregnancies: what they are, how they happen, and how they’re addressed.
An ectopic pregnancy happens when the fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus. The vast majority of ectopic pregnancies (95%) implant in the Fallopian tube, but they can also occur in the ovary, abdomen, or cervix. In very rare cases, an ectopic pregnancy may implant in the neck of the womb (cervix), which is known as a cervical ectopic pregnancy.
The sooner an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome will be.
There are several factors that can increase your risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. These include:
– Being over the age of 35
– Having had a previous ectopic pregnancy
– Taking fertility drugs to help you get pregnant
– Smoking cigarettes
If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to speak with your doctor before becoming pregnant. They may recommend that you take extra steps to prevent an ectopic pregnancy, such as taking medication or having your Fallopian tubes surgically removed (salpingectomy).
The most common symptom of an ectopic pregnancy is vaginal bleeding. This can range from light spotting to heavy bleeding, and it usually occurs around the time when you would expect your period. Other symptoms may include:
– Sharp, cramping pain on one side of your pelvis
– Pain in your shoulder or rectum
– Nausea and vomiting
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact your doctor right away. They will likely order a pregnancy test and an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis.
If you are diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, there are several treatment options available. The most common is Laparoscopic surgery, which involves making multiple small incisions in the abdomen and removing the Fallopian tube that contains the ectopic pregnancy. In some cases, it may be possible to treat an ectopic pregnancy with medication instead of surgery. This is typically only an option if the ectopic pregnancy is very early on and has not caused any damage to the Fallopian tube.
The prognosis for an ectopic pregnancy is generally good, especially if it is caught early. However, there is a risk of serious complications, such as ruptured Fallopian tubes or heavy bleeding. In rare cases, an ectopic pregnancy can even be life-threatening. If you think you may be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, it’s important to seek medical help right away.
I hope this blog post has helped to explain everything you need to know about ectopic pregnancies. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office! I’m here to help!