Normal pregnancy sees a fertilized egg pass through the fallopian tube to reach the uterus. The egg attaches itself to the uterus, and it begins to grow. In an ectopic pregnancy however, the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus and begins growing. Most often, it is in the fallopian tube. This is also why it is sometimes called tubal pregnancy. Rarely, an egg implant can be found in the cervix or the belly.
An ectopic pregnancy cannot be saved. It will not turn into a normal baby. The egg can grow in the fallopian tubes and cause damage to the tube. This could lead to severe bleeding, which could prove fatal. You will need to get immediate treatment if you are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.
What causes an unplanned pregnancy?
Damage to the fallopian tube can often lead to an ectopic pregnancy. An infertile egg might have difficulty passing through damaged tubes, which can cause the egg to implant or grow inside the tube.
These are the things that increase your chances of having ectopic pregnancy or fallopian tube injury.
- Smoking. Smoking increases your chances of having an ectopic baby.
- Pelvic inflammatory disorder (PID) This can often be caused by an infection like gonorrhoea or chlamydia.
- Endometriosis can cause scar tissue around the fallopian tubes.
- Being exposed the chemical to DES prior to your birth.
Certain medical treatments may increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. These include:
- Surgery in the pelvic region or on the fallopian tubes.
- In vitro Fertility Treatments such as in-vitro fertilization .
What are the symptoms of ?
Ectopic pregnancy can cause the same symptoms as normal pregnancy, including missed periods, nausea, fatigue, and sore breasts.
These are the key signs that an ectopic baby is:
- Pelvic pain or belly pain. The pain may start on one side and spread to your entire belly. It can be more severe if you strain or move.
- Vaginal bleeding.
Tell your doctor if you suspect you may be pregnant.
What is the diagnosis of an ectopic baby?
A urine test can tell you if your are pregnant. Your doctor can test your urine to determine if you are pregnant.
- Perform a pelvic exam to determine the size of your uterus, and feel for tenderness or growths in your abdomen.
- This blood test checks for the level of pregnancy hormone (hCG). The test is repeated two days later. The hormone levels double every 2 days during early pregnancy. Low levels could indicate a problem such as an ectopic pregnancy.
- An ultrasound. An ultrasound can take pictures of your abdomen. A doctor will usually be able to see a pregnancy within 6 weeks of your last period.
How does it get treated?
Surgery and medicine are the most popular treatments. To prevent any harm to the woman, most doctors will immediately treat an ectopic baby.
If the pregnancy is discovered early enough to prevent damage to the tube, medicine can be used. The majority of cases will be ended by one or more doses of methotrexate. Although the shot can be avoided surgery, side effects may occur. To ensure that the shot was effective, you will need to visit your doctor for further blood tests.
Surgery is safer than medicine for a pregnancy that has progressed beyond the first few weeks. If possible, the surgery will be laparoscopy (say “lap-uh-ROSS-kuh-pee”). This type of surgery involves making small incisions (cuts) to your abdomen. You may need to have an incision larger if you require emergency surgery.
What should you do after an ectopic baby?
No matter how young the loss, it is always difficult to lose a baby. You should take time to grieve and seek the support you need.
After an ectopic baby, you could be at high risk of developing depression. You should inform your doctor if you experience depression symptoms that last more than two weeks.
After an ectopic baby, it is normal to be concerned about your fertility. An ectopic pregnancy doesn’t mean you can’t have normal pregnancy in future. It does however mean:
- It is possible to have difficulty getting pregnant.
- It is more likely that you will have another ectopic baby.
Be sure to inform your doctor if you become pregnant again that you have had an ectopic baby before. Regular testing during the first few weeks of pregnancy can detect a problem or let you know if the pregnancy is normal.