What is Ectopic Pregnancy
Once an egg is fertilized, in a normal pregnancy it travels through your fallopian tube to your uterus, where it implants. If the egg stays in the tube and starts growing there instead of your uterus, you have a tubal (or ectopic) pregnancy.
When the pregnancy begins to grow, a placenta begins to form and hormonal changes start to take place. You will probably miss your period and begin to have other signs of a normal pregnancy, such as a positive pregnancy test, fatigue, and breast tenderness. If the pregnancy grows too big while still in your fallopian tube, the tube may rupture. If this goes unrecognized it can result in internal hemorrhaging and possible death.
There are usually no clear signs of an early ectopic pregnancy. Sometimes you might have light bleeding within 2 weeks after your missed period. You may have a positive pregnancy test with no real change in your uterus.
Before the tube ruptures, you may have cramps, a constant dull pain or sharp stabbing pains in your abdomen.
In order to properly diagnose an ectopic pregnancy, you need a medical exam, which will include:
- A Medical History. The practitioner will ask you questions about this and other pregnancies, infections, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
- A Pelvic Exam to check your uterus and your tubes.
- Serial Blood tests to measure the level of pregnancy hormones in your blood.
- A Sonogram to visualize the uterus and fallopian tubes
If you have an ectopic pregnancy you may need to have the pregnancy removed surgically which takes place in a hospital. If it is detected early enough, the doctor may be able to remove the pregnancy through a laparoscope, a thin rod used to operate on internal organs without large incision.
There is no way to prevent ectopic pregnancy. If you have had Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) or if you use an IUD, an ectopic pregnancy is more likely. Early detection and treatment of these conditions will help lower your risk.
ECTOPIC PREGNANCY IS A LIFE-THREATENING CONDITION.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK US.
For patients with ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies developing outside the uterus, in the fallopian tubes or on the ovaries), we offer a range of services depending on the patient's health and the length of her pregnancy. Early ectopic pregnancies can be treated nonsurgically by injecting a medication that prevents further growth of the pregnancy. After the injection, the tissue will gradually be reabsorbed by your body. Later ectopic pregnancies can be managed surgically through a minimally invasive, laporoscopic procedure.