What is an ectopic pregnancy?
An Ectopic pregnancy occurs when an embryo grows in the wrong place. Ectopic means “Out of place”.
Usually, a women’s ovaries release an egg every month, about 14 days before the first day of her period. This is called ovulation. When a couple has intercourse and does not use birth control around the time of the ovulation, it is called fertilisation or conception. The fertilised egg then travels to the woman’s uterus, where it burrows into the lining of the uterus and starts to grow.
If the fertilised egg implants somewhere else other that the uterine lining , it is an ectopic pregnancy. Most ectopic pregnancies the fertilised egg attaches to the fallopian tube. However, it can attach itself to an ovary, the cervix, or somewhere in the abdominal cavity.
Unfortunately, though, any place outside of the uterus doesn’t have the right environment for a baby to develop healthily. There is not enough room and if the fertilised egg continues to grow, it can cause excessive bleeding. This bleeding can be life threatening for the pregnant women.
Any women can have an ectopic pregnancy, but there are a few risk factors that increase your chances:
- A Prior ectopic pregnancy
- Damages to fallopian tube
- Pelvic infections or inflammation
- Fertility treatments
Signs and Symptoms:
You will not know right away that you have an ectopic pregnancy. You may have the typical signs of pregnancy. Like missed period or nausea. Or you may have no signs of pregnancy at all. If you take a home pregnancy test you will get a positive result.
But as the embryo starts getting bigger, you may start getting signs that are unusual and not typical of early pregnancy for example:
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Lower back pain
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Low blood pressure
There are two types of treatment, medical or surgery. Your doctor will tell you which one is best for you. After treatment, your doctor will regularly check your hCG levels until the return to zero this could take a few weeks. If your levels stay high, it may mean that you still have ectopic tissue in your body. If this happens you may need additional treatment.
If you have had an ectopic pregnancy, it is very important to take the time to grieve for your loss. You can have a very healthy pregnancy following an ectopic pregnancy but ask your doctor first when it will be okay for you to conceive again.