Ectopic pregnancy refers to a condition where the fertilized egg or ovum develops outside the uterus (womb).
Ectopic pregnancy is also called “tubal pregnancy.”
It has been found that, in United States, approximately 70,000 pregnant women suffer from ectopic pregnancy.
Tubal pregnancies results when damage to the fallopian tube occurs.
This condition may also occur if you have pelvic inflammatory disease, scar tissue, endometriosis, or previous surgery.
Your chance of having ectopic pregnancy is more if you come across with ectopic pregnancy previously.
It also increases with the usage of contraceptive coil or birth control pill (only progesterone). In-vitro fertilization may also lead to ectopic pregnancy. In some cases, women will face this problem even if there are no above-mentioned risk factors.
Abdominal or pelvic pain is the first symptom associated with tubal pregnancy. The pain can be on one side; it can start suddenly and can remain constant.
With ectopic pregnancy, you also experience shoulder pain (increases while breathing), pain during urination, sickness, fatigue, diarrhea, low blood pressure, paleness, vaginal bleeding, lightheadedness, and early pregnancy symptoms.
If you find any of these symptoms, right away consult your doctor and inform your condition. Your doctor will perform a pelvic examination to determine the status of the uterus.
If the size of the womb is smaller than in a normal pregnancy, the doctor confirms the condition to be ectopic pregnancy. Ovaries and fallopian tubes will also be examined for further confirmation.
Your doctor will recommend you to have urine test. However, urine test is not the efficient method to confirm the condition. You will be asked to have blood test to check the hormone levels (HCG) in the blood.
In the ectopic pregnancy, the HCG level as well as progesterone levels will be lower when compared to normal pregnancy.
Based on your hormone levels, doctor will suggest you to get examined of the blood samples for every two days (the level normally increases for every two days in normal pregnancy) to check the increase or decrease in the hormone levels.
Although ultrasound may not detect every ectopic pregnancy, it will be recommended to identify the presence of developing fetus or masses in the abdominal area. Culdocentesis is also recommended (rarely) for internal bleeding.
Once the condition is analyzed, the doctor starts ectopic pregnancy treatment. As this kind of pregnancy leads to dangerous condition, it must be treated in the early stages to avoid complications.
Treatment for tubal pregnancy depends on the size, location, and personal preference about future pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy in the early stage can be treated with medication. Methotrexate is an injection given to dissolve the fetus and to reduce the scarring of the pelvic organs.
If the pregnancy is in advanced stage or any rupture takes place, surgery is required. With the advancement in the technology, it is now possible to remove the fertilized egg.
Your chance of having this kind of pregnancy is very high with a succeeding ectopic pregnancy. So, consult your doctor immediately as soon as you become pregnant again.