Before we discuss about what is an ectopic pregnancy, let’s understand what happens in a normal pregnancy – Under normal circumstances, when a sperm meets with an ovum (fertilisation, the zygote (immediate product of fertilisation), will move to the uterus. Inside the uterus, it will implant itself to the endometrium wall where it will grow continuously until the time for delivery arrives. However, there are instances where the zygote fails to migrate to the uterus and instead, implanted itself to the wall of different body cavities.
Understanding ectopic pregnancy
When the pregnancy occurs outside the uterus, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. It is a relatively common life-threatening condition, occurring in nearly 20 out of every 1,000 pregnancies. Most of the time, an ectopic pregnancy occurs inside the narrow fallopian tube, as it fails to migrate to the uterus. However, it can also occur in the abdomen, cervix as well as the ovary.
At first, this condition might not cause any obvious signs or symptoms. Therefore, it is easy to be missed in the early stage of the pregnancy. As such, you should go for regular check-ups as well as undergoing ultrasound scan in the first trimester.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you must contact your therapist immediately to have early diagnosis and treatment:
- Light vaginal bleeding
- Nausea and vomiting with pain
- Sharp abdominal cramps
- Pain on one side of your body
- Lightheadedness, fainting, and shock
- Severe pain in your lower abdominal, shoulder, neck, or rectum
Women are at higher risk of experiencing this condition if they
- Have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease
- Are 30 years old or older
- Have had abdominal, fallopian tube, or pelvic surgery
- Smoke a lot
- Have had a fertilized egg placed in a fallopian tube during an infertility procedure
If the doctor diagnoses or suspects that the fallopian tube has internally broken down, emergency surgery is necessary to stop the bleeding.
In some cases, medication may be used to stop the growth of pregnancy tissue. Check with your care provider to find the most suitable treatment.
Chances of getting pregnant again
Experiencing such ectopic pregnancy can be traumatic both physically and mentally. It can have a devastating effect on your reproductive system if complications occur. Depending on the severity of the condition and how it was managed, a woman may be able to conceive again normally with a good chance of intrauterine pregnancy. If you suffered severe complications requiring surgeries, all hope may not be lost. Current advancement in the field of reproductive technology such as IVF and IUI may be able to help you conceive successfully. Discuss with your doctor regarding your treatment options.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: January 29, 2017 | Last Modified: November 19, 2019
What to know about ectopic pregnancy, http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/pregnancy-ectopic-pregnancy#1. Accessed August 17, 2016.
Ectopic pregnancy, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/basics/definition/con-20024262. Accessed August 17, 2016.
Ectopic pregnancy, https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/ectopic-pregnancy. Accessed August 17, 2016.