What is an ectopic pregnancy?
Typically, a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining and develops into a foetus. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg gets implanted anywhere other than the central cavity of the uterus. The probable areas can be anywhere from the ovary to the cervix. In this condition, the fertilized egg does not survive. About 97% of ectopic pregnancies occur in the ampullary region of the fallopian tube. If left untreated, it may lead to life-threatening conditions for the mother.
An ectopic pregnancy can be caused when the fertilized is not able to make its way down your fallopian tube or its inability to implant onto the uterine wall. This can be due to the following reasons:
- Abnormally-shaped fallopian tube.
- Scar tissues or inflammation from pelvic surgery.
- A sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Ectopic pregnancies may cause a great array of symptoms in expecting mothers, generally similar to healthy pregnancies. However, you may experience some abnormal symptoms that should not be ignored.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Bowel problems.
- Severe lower abdominal pain.
- Lower back pain.
- Shoulder pain.
- Hypotension or low blood pressure.
When To See A Doctor?
An ectopic pregnancy, albeit rare, is primarily responsible for about 3.5-7.1% of maternal deaths in India. Having one may cause the patient a lot of trauma, grief, and shock.
If you or someone that you know experiences severe symptoms like dizziness, shock, or enormous vaginal bleeding, you should see the doctor immediately. While panic is naturally our first reaction to such a situation, there is no need to worry if you have an experienced healthcare provider on your side. With support from your family and a team of trusted medical attendants, you can navigate through this issue and recover. Request an appointment at Apollo Fertility in JP Nagar by calling 1860-500-4244.
You are more likely to develop an ectopic pregnancy if any of the following applies to you:
- Fallopian tube damage.
- Previous ectopic pregnancy.
- Infertility, as well as an IVF procedure.
- Contraceptive failure.
- Endometriosis or abnormal bleeding of the uterine wall.
- Increased age (above 35 years of age).
To take better care of yourself, you must be aware of what to expect upon a visit to your gynaecologist. The diagnosis will include a clinical examination to ascertain the presence of a misplaced zygote. An early diagnosis reduces your risk of developing complications.
Irrespective of your symptoms, the first step would be a detailed inquiry into your medical history. An early diagnosis will include a urine pregnancy test, transvaginal ultrasound, and hCG estimations in the serum. Human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) is a hormone that regulates the levels of progesterone to maintain pregnancy. For severe or multiple symptoms, the doctor may go for laparoscopic procedures for detection.
Following a definite diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy, the management of the condition is governed by various factors like the levels of hCG, the duration of pregnancy, the severity of the condition, and other clinical factors.
Generally, the following treatment options are widely practised:
- Watchful waiting: Your hCG levels would be monitored until they fall below 10 mIU/mL. This is practised when there is no abdominal bleeding.
- Drugs like methotrexate can be administered, in cases with no tube rupture. However, no medication should be consumed without a certified doctor's prescription.
- In cases where the above methods have failed or complications are present, either an open (laparotomy) or keyhole (laparoscopy) surgery is performed.
Unfortunately, preventing an ectopic pregnancy is not quite possible. However, a stitch in time saves nine, which means that a timely diagnosis and treatment can help alleviate the damage to your body. This will, in turn, reduce the risks of developing another in the future.
Definitely! You can expect a successful pregnancy in the future, too. While taking good care and precautions, it can be possible. Even if one of your fallopian tubes has been removed previously, there should be no major issues but a timely medical consultation is a must.
Unfortunately, this is not possible provided the current medical scenario. Treatment for an ectopic pregnancy requires immediate medical care that stops the zygote from dividing. Albeit the loss of a child is insurmountable, talking to a loved one will help you overcome the grief. Medically, on the brighter side, it does not stop you from having a pregnancy again.
A third of patients with this condition had no risk factors. However, it is ideal to have a gynaecological examination and develop healthy habits to steer clear of danger.