The term ‘Ectopic” means ‘out of place’. Ectopic Pregnancies therefore mean implantation of the embryo that occurs outside the uterus. The implantation of the fertilized egg or embryo can happen anywhere including the fallopian tube, cervix or ovaries.
The most common ectopic pregnancies are the ones that happen in the fallopian tube. This is an extremely complicated situation and can be fatal too, hence should be addressed to, immediately. Ectopic pregnancies must invariably be terminated as they cannot survive and lead to excessive bleeding by rupturing the fallopian tube.
Why Ectopic Pregnancies Happen?
If you had a previous case of ectopic pregnancy you run the risk of having more ectopic pregnancies. The fallopian tube may have been damaged or obstructed when the pregnancy was terminated earlier and therefore the fertilized egg may not be able to travel down to the uterus for implantation.
Inflammation of the fallopian tube or the uterus or cervix that happens due to pelvic inflammatory disease is a major factor that leads to ectopic pregnancies. Sexually transmitted diseases can also cause EP. So before trying to conceive it is absolutely important to rule out all kinds of reproductive health diseases. It will not only allow the growth of a healthy fetus but also reduce the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
Failure of contraception is a major cause of EP too. Pregnancies that occur while using birth control pills, intrauterine devices or tubal ligation are usually ectopic. It has also been reported that the pregnancies that follow a long term fertility treatment also have the risk of being ectopic in nature.
Warning Signs Of Ectopic Pregnancy
The symptoms of ectopic pregnancy may include abnormal nausea and vomiting, vaginal bleeding and lower abdominal pain. If you experience pain in one side of the body or pain in the rectum, neck or shoulders you must report to your doctor immediately. If you feel abnormally weak or dizzy do not delay the visit to the doctor.
Ectopic pregnancies occur early in the pregnancy and the doctor may be able to detect only in the seventh or eighth week. Any abnormality in the early stages must be reported, ectopic pregnancies if allowed to continue for long may lead to severe blood loss and may also damage the tubes.
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Treatment For Ectopic Pregnancy
If ectopic pregnancy is detected, the doctor decides the course of treatment depending on the stage of the embryo. If the embryo has just implanted and has not caused any damage to the fallopian tube, medication may be prescribed to terminate it. If the tube has not ruptured, the doctor may use laparoscopic surgery to remove the embryo but in case the rupture is beginning to show and bleeding starts surgery is the only option available.
Terminating a pregnancy is traumatic both physically and emotionally. It is important to give the body time before conceiving again. It is possible to conceive normally even after removal of one fallopian tube. But it is important to delay the next conception by at least 6-7 months or a year so that you are mentally prepared to brace the challenges of pregnancy.