What is an ectopic pregnancy?
Simply put, an ectopic pregnancy is any pregnancy that occurs outside of your uterus. Once your egg is fertilized, it will find something to attach to. While it usually travels through your fallopian tubes into your uterus, it doesn’t always make it there. Most ectopic pregnancies are when the fertilized egg attached to the fallopian tube, but the egg may also attach to your ovaries, cervix, or another internal part of your abdomen.
What are the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy will usually still give you traditional pregnancy symptoms, like a missed period, tender breasts, and nausea, early on, but you will find out shortly that something has gone awry. You will probably begin to feel severe pain on one side of your lower abdomen, vaginal bleeding, and even some shoulder pain. You may even have dizzy spells or fainting.
Is an ectopic pregnancy dangerous?
Yes, an ectopic pregnancy is life threatening and needs to be treated right away. If you experience any of the above symptoms, or something just doesn’t seem right, you need to get checked out right away. Your fallopian tubes were not made to stretch like your uterus was, so as the embryo starts to grow, it can result in the fallopian tube bursting. This is not only extremely painful, but it can lead to internal bleeding, infection, and even death. Even though you likely got a positive pregnancy test, it is important to realize that the embryo has little to no chance of survival, and if you hesitate to get the treatment you need, your life is at risk.
How is it treated?
Depending on how far along you are and where the egg has implanted, there are several treatment options available. If caught early enough, a medication to stop the pregnancy from progressing may be enough. However, more commonly, a simple laparoscopic surgery is performed to remove the egg from its unorthodox location. If the fallopian tube has already burst, you will require emergency surgery and will probably also have the tube removed.
Will I be able to get pregnant again after an ectopic pregnancy?
The good news is, yes, most women are able to conceive normally after experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. Even if you had to have one of your fallopian tubes removed, you only need one to make a baby.
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