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Ectopic Pregnancy – All You Need To Know

ectopic-pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy – All You Need To Know

Heard the term ectopic pregnancy but not sure what it means? Read on….


Sara was pretty sure she was pregnant, as soon as her husband came home from work, she excitedly announced to him that she is pregnant.

Everything was going good but soon she felt there was something unusual, at that early stage, she was experiencing some spotting but her doctor told her that spotting did sometimes occur in pregnancy and suggested that she should undergo early scan.

The most vivid memory that she still remember was of  the staff staring at the screen in total silence. She  suspected something was wrong.

The sonographers told her that they suspected an ectopic pregnancy. She was totally shocked, as she had  never heard of ectopic pregnancies and it was hard to take in the information.

She was told  to have surgery, she felt utterly broken like a china doll and vulnerable in a way that she had  never felt before as all her happiness was vanished.

It’s frightening to think how seriously and dangerously unwell she  was and had no clue, but my situation was relatively unusual and most women suffering an ectopic pregnancy have worse symptoms.

She was heartbroken over her  loss, angry about what had happened and anxious about the future.

This is the case with many women around that they actually don’t know about the complications, they suffer and loose hope.

It’s very important for women to know about several conditions, complications and their solutions related to pregnancy before getting pregnant because losing something precious is more painful than not having any.

Let’s have a look at the ectopic pregnancy.

 

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ECTOPIC PREGNANCY

 

WHAT IS AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY?

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that is not in the proper place. When an egg is fertilised it should implant into the uterus that is the organ prepared to enlarge and grow with the growing foetus. When an egg that is fertilised implants within the Fallopian tubes this area can’t support the growth of an egg. The tube will rupture once the fertilised egg enlarges. That creates an acute episode of pain.The pain starts on the side of the rupture and later it spreads to the other side. It occurs  early in pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy is also called a tubal pregnancy.

The blood vessels are so huge and engorged from the pregnancy that when it ruptures, there is an enormous amount of blood lost through abdominal bleeding, which very quickly leads to circulatory collapse and hemorrhagic shock.

A woman is  lucky enough if this life-threatening condition is caught very early. Even in this day and age, women can still bleed to death from an ectopic pregnancy if they are unlucky.

 

WHAT CAUSES AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY?

There is no specific reason of what causes an ectopic pregnancy but the following conditions may attribute to developing ectopic pregnancy:

  • Inflammation of the fallopian tube due to previous operation, infection or a disease condition.
  • Factors that trigger hormonal changes.
  • Genetic factors, especially if there is the background of ectopic pregnancy in the family.
  • Diseases that impair and weaken fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs.
  • women aged between 35 and 40 are more likely to experience an ectopic pregnancy.

 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

The symptoms are as follows:

.Sharp or stabbing pain, that comes and goes in different intensity. This pain can be experienced in different body parts due to ruptured ectopic pregnancy clustering under the diaphragm.

. Gastrointestinal symptoms. Bloating of stomach area, nausea and vomiting.

.Weakness, dizziness and fainting.

.Absence of menstruation, abnormal vaginal bleeding or cramping.

You should also seek emergency treatment if you have sudden and intense stomach pain, feel dizzy or faint, feel sick or look very pale. This could mean your fallopian tube has ruptured, which is dangerous and means you need urgent surgery.

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY IS CONFIRMED?

An ultrasound scan and blood tests usually confirms the diagnosis.

.Many early ectopic pregnancies resolve themselves, with the fertilised egg dissolving.

.Injections with methotrexate, a powerful drug, is given to stop the pregnancy developing.

.Surgery under general anaesthetic to remove the fertilised egg; this usually also means taking out the affected fallopian tube.

.Laparoscopic surgery under general anaesthesia is another way, where the ruptured fallopian tubes are repaired.

With any method of removing the ectopic pregnancy, it is important to monitor that all of the placental tissue is removed, as there is a danger that retained placental tissue would develop into a cancerous condition called choriocarcinoma.

This is checked in this high risk setting by doing serial blood tests of a marker called human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced by placental tissue.

 

 

CAN A FOETUS SURVIVE?

While there have been one or two high-profile cases when an ectopic pregnancy has resulted in a baby.

The foetus has no chance to survive this pregnancy, because the placenta is restricted and cannot grow enough to supply the foetus with nutrition.

The risks to the mother-to-be are incredibly high, and no medical technology currently exists to transfer an ectopic pregnancy to the uterus to allow it to develop normally.

 

 

IS IT POSSIBLE TO CONCEIVE AND GIVE BIRTH NORMALLY AFTER ONE SUCH PREGNANCY?

Most women are advised to wait for around three months after an ectopic occurence before trying to conceive again. As well as physical recovery, couples need time to grieve so it may be a while before they feel ready.

The chance of a subsequent pregnancy also being ectopic rises to around 10%.

Even if one fallopian tube has been removed, if the other is healthy there is every chance of a successful pregnancy in future.

It’s also a good idea to arrange a scan as soon as possible after a subsequent pregnancy is confirmed to check everything is developing normally.

 

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Sundeela Hassan
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