Pregnancy concerns: Ectopic pregnancy

For many women, pregnancy complications weigh heavily on their mind, and an ectopic pregnancy can be very serious. Ectopic pregnancies are initially hard to diagnose when your pregnancy tests positive, since you’re experiencing all the typical symptoms of a normal pregnancy.

What it is

Ectopic literally means “out of place.” During a healthy pregnancy, the ovary releases an egg into the fallopian tube, where it is met with a sperm cell and is transported to uterus. Unfortunately during an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg usually stays in the fallopian tube — hence the common term “tube pregnancy.”

Around the eighth week, you may experience sudden warning signs which include vaginal bleeding, dizziness, stabbing and very low blood pressure. These types of pregnancies can be a sad and scary experience, since the baby cannot survive. It is a loss that might take some time to recover from, both physically and emotionally, but you can take comfort in the fact you are very like to experience a healthy pregnancy in future.

In rare cases, the egg can also attach to an ovary or another organ in your lower abdomen. This is when the situation can become dangerous. If the fetus continues to grow, it can eventually lead to a rupture of the organ, causing severe bleeding and pain. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned during your first trimester, it is absolutely vital that you contact your doctor immediately.

How common is it?

An ectopic pregnancy is a bizarre phenomenon that occurs in about 1 out of 100 pregnancies. Blockage of the fallopian tubes, possible due to an infection, is a very common cause of ectopic pregnancies.

If you are planning to get pregnant while suffering from Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or urinary infections, it is in your best interest to postpone conception until the condition has cleared up completely.

How to treat it

Many ectopic pregnancies are treated without the need for surgery, but it largely depends on the severity of the situation, and how quickly it is diagnosed. This is why it is so urgent to see a doctor if you suspect that something is amiss. A ruptured ectopic pregnancy can be potentially life-threatening.

  • In the event of a rupture, emergency surgery will be carried out.
  • If the pregnancy has not progressed very far without further complications, laparoscopic surgery is sufficient to remove the embryo and repair any damages. Medication to stop to growth of pregnant tissue is another option.
  • If medication like Methotrexate is used, you are likely to experience bleeding for a couple of weeks.
  • After an ectopic pregnancy, it is vital that you take the time out you need to heal your body and your mind. Many mothers go through a phase of mourning. This is a completely natural part of the process, so be gentle with yourself.
  • Counseling or support groups are frequently recommended to couples and mothers who have a hard time coming to terms with their loss.
  • Wait before you immediately try to get pregnant again. Doctors generally recommend a waiting period of three to six months.

There is a silver lining to your loss. Most women who have suffered from this kind of pregnancy have normal healthy babies in future, even if one fallopian tube was removed. If the pregnancy was caused by an illness or infection, the condition is almost always treatable.