Ectopic Pregnancy Information
An ectopic pregnancy (also called tubal pregnancy) is one that occurs outside of the uterus. An egg can be implanted in the fallopian tubes, cervix, ovaries, or abdomen. Ectopic literally means “out-of-place.” Approximately 1.5% of all pregnancies are ectopic.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the egg does not make it down the fallopian tube correctly. This can happen as a result of tube inflammation. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a leading cause of blocked fallopian tubes. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia can result in PID. Endometriosis is another cause of ectopic pregnancies. Cells from the uterus implant and grow in other areas of the body as a result of endometriosis.
Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include sharp abdominal pains, vaginal bleeding or spotting, low blood pressure, and problems with or pain while using the bathroom. Diagnosing an ectopic pregnancy requires a positive pregnancy test accompanied by other criteria including low levels of hCG or an ultrasound.
About half of ectopic pregnancies resolve themselves with non-induced abortion. Intervention is usually required for the other half. If detected early enough, a non-invasive, non-surgical option exists. Methotrexate can be administered to the patient to disrupt the growth of the embryo and end the pregnancy. If the condition is diagnosed later in the term, laparoscopic surgery may be required. Sometimes, an untreated tubal pregnancy can result in a rupture that leads to shock. Ruptured ectopic pregnancies account for 10-15% of maternal deaths.
It is important to see your doctor when you think you have become pregnant. Close monitoring of any pregnancy is always advised to reduce the risk of serious health issues and treat any complications that may arise. A healthy diet and proper prenatal nutrient intake should be a part of every pregnancy.