Ectopic pregnancy is when a pregnancy grows outside of your uterus, usually in your fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancies are rare but serious, and they need to be treated.
What’s an ectopic pregnancy? An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus. Pregnancy begins with a fertilised egg. Normally, the fertilised egg attaches to the lining of the uterus.
Ectopic Pregnancy: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Normal pregnancies develop inside your uterus, after a fertilised egg travels through your fallopian tube and attaches to your uterine lining. Ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg attaches somewhere else in your body, usually in your fallopian tube — that’s why it’s sometimes called “tubal pregnancy.”
Ectopic pregnancies are rare — it happens in about 2 out of every 100 pregnancies. But they’re very dangerous if not treated. Fallopian tubes can break if stretched too much by the growing pregnancy — this is sometimes called a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. This can cause internal bleeding, infection, and in some cases lead to death.
Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms
You may not notice anything at first. However, some women with an ectopic pregnancy have the usual early signs or symptoms of pregnancy — a missed period, breast tenderness and nausea.
If you take a pregnancy test, the result will be positive. Still, an ectopic pregnancy can’t continue as normal.
Signs and symptoms increase as the fertilised egg grows in the improper place.
Early warning of ectopic pregnancy
Often, the first warning sign of an ectopic pregnancy is pelvic pain. Light vaginal bleeding may also occur.
If blood leaks from the fallopian tube, you may feel increasing abdominal pain, an urge to have a bowel movement or pelvic discomfort. If heavy bleeding (hemorrhaging) occurs, you may feel shoulder pain as blood fills your pelvis and abdomen. Your specific symptoms depend on where the blood collects and which nerves are irritated.
Emergency symptoms during ectopic pregnancy
If the fertilised egg continues to grow in the fallopian tube, it can cause the tube to rupture. Heavy bleeding inside the abdomen is likely. Symptoms of this life-threatening event include extreme lightheadedness, fainting, severe abdominal pain and shock.
It is important to contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing sharp pain that lasts more than a few minutes or if you have bleeding.
Ectopic pregnancies are diagnosed by your physician, who will probably first perform a pelvic exam to locate pain, tenderness, or a mass in the abdomen. Your physician will also use an ultrasound to determine whether the uterus contains a developing fetus.
Can I get pregnant again after an ectopic pregnancy?
Most people who have an ectopic pregnancy can have healthy pregnancies in the future, depending on the treatment you had and the condition of your fallopian tubes. The chances of having a successful pregnancy after an ectopic pregnancy may be reduced, but this will depend on why the pregnancy was ectopic and your medical history. If the fallopian tubes have been left in place, you have approximately a 60% chance of having a successful pregnancy in the future. Most women who have ectopic pregnancies go on to have other, healthy pregnancies. If one fallopian tube was injured or removed, an egg can be fertilized in the other tube before entering the uterus. If both fallopian tubes were injured or removed, in vitro fertilization might be an option. If you have an ectopic pregnancy, you’re more likely to get another one in the future.
If you choose to conceive again, seek your doctor's advice. Early blood tests and ultrasound imaging can offer prompt detection of another ectopic pregnancy — or reassurance that the pregnancy is developing normally.
Ectopic pregnancy cannot always be prevented, but a woman can reduce her risk by protecting herself against sexually transmitted infections through safer sex practices and ensuring prompt treatment of any infections that occur. Stopping smoking will also reduce the risk. If you are pregnant and having any of the symptoms mentioned earlier it is always better to consult your physician and seek advice. Blossom Fertility and IVF Centre health team includes physicians, psychologists, embryologists, lab technicians, nurses and allied health professionals who work together to help infertile couples achieve pregnancy. A patient with Vaginal bleeding or spotting, nausea and vomiting, Sharp abdominal cramps or severe lower abdominal pain on one side of the body or with any other complains is immediately treated and all efforts are taken to save pregnancy and no further damage is being done to fallopian tubes and fertility.