Pregnancy can be associated with some abnormalities, and one of them is an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic, or tubular pregnancy, can be frustrating to a woman, primarily because she would not know that her pregnancy is not viable until a miscarriage happens or an ultrasound confirms that the pregnancy is ectopic. In an ectopic pregnancy, a woman does not only suffer from physical pain, but she also suffers an emotional blow.
What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy pertains to a condition in which the fertilized egg implants somewhere else in the body instead of in the uterus. The egg attaches and develops in unsuitable locations such as the fallopian tubes, abdomen, or cervix. Unlike the uterus, these locations do not provide the nutrition required for healthy growth and development of the egg. Meanwhile as the egg grows, it causes excruciating pain that is more prominent in the location where the ectopic egg has attached. Even with all of today’s wonderful medical achievements, there is no method by which a fertilized egg can be removed from a different location and placed inside the uterus.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms that accompany an ectopic pregnancy include abdominal or lower back pain that is stabbing or sharp in nature. The pain can be intermittent, with varying intensity. Symptoms like vaginal spotting or bleeding accompanied by dizziness and decreased blood pressure are also signs of ectopic pregnancy. Moreover, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone that is present during pregnancy, may appear to be much lower in an ectopic pregnancy when compared to hCG levels in a healthy pregnancy. There are some rare situations in which a woman’s hCG levels do not even rise enough to produce a positive pregnancy test. Low HCG levels, together with the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, are reasons to suspect ectopic pregnancy.
If an ectopic pregnancy has been correctly diagnosed early on, then non- invasive procedures are opted for, such as administering Methotrexate injections, which allows the body to absorb the fertilized egg tissues.
However, most ectopic pregnancies are not diagnosed in its early stages and the only effective way to treat an ectopic pregnancy is through surgery to remove the fertilized egg from wherever it has attempted to implant. Treatment is generally directed in terminating the abnormal pregnancy. One of the most common invasive treatments is a laparoscopic surgery. There is not much pain associated with this type of surgery.
MedLine Plus, an online division of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, states that an ectopic pregnancy is life threatening and in order to save the mother’s life, the developing cells should be removed.
After treatment, it is necessary to do a routine monitor of the HCG levels until values normalize. Abnormal values may indicate unsuccessful removal of pregnancy tissues that necessitates further management.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, though normal pregnancy is still possible, chances of a normal pregnancy will be lower. In addition, this type of abnormal pregnancy cannot be prevented. Factors that can increase your risk of having an ectopic pregnancy include a history of endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), prior ectopic pregnancies, or other conditions that have left the fallopian tubes scarred.
Although having an ectopic pregnancy does not prevent you from conceiving later, approximately 30 percent of women, who have had an ectopic pregnancy, will experience a harder time in conceiving again.