Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy results when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. Unfortunately, there's no way to transplant an ectopic pregnancy into your uterus, so ending the pregnancy is the only option. About 2% of pregnancies are ectopic.

How does it happen?
After conception, the fertilized egg travels down one of your fallopian tubes on its way to your uterus. If the tube is damaged or blocked and fails to propel the egg toward your womb, the egg may implant in the tube and continue to develop there. (Most ectopic pregnancies occur in a fallopian tube, so they're often called "tubal" pregnancies.)
Though it happens much less often, an egg can also implant in an ovary, in the cervix, directly in the abdomen, or even in a c-section scar.

It's also possible to have one embryo implant normally in your uterus and another implant in a tube or elsewhere. This condition, called a heterotopic pregnancy, is extremely rare. Experts estimate that it happens in about 1 out of 4,000 to 10,000 pregnancies.

An ectopic pregnancy that isn't recognized and treated quickly could result in a ruptured fallopian tube, causing severe abdominal pain and bleeding. This can lead to permanent tube damage, tube loss, or even death if very heavy internal bleeding is not treated right away.

What are the symptoms?
At first, an ectopic pregnancy might not cause any signs or symptoms. In other cases, early signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy might be the same as those of any pregnancy — a missed period, breast tenderness and nausea.

If you take a pregnancy test, the result will be positive. Still, an ectopic pregnancy can't continue as normal. Light vaginal bleeding with abdominal or pelvic pain is often the first warning sign of an ectopic pregnancy. If blood leaks from the fallopian tube, it's also possible to feel shoulder pain or an urge to have a bowel movement — depending on where the blood pools or which nerves are irritated. If the fallopian tube ruptures, heavy bleeding inside the abdomen is likely — followed by lightheadedness, fainting and shock.

Read & learn:
Corina Marinescu

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