It is estimated that 1 – 2 out of 100 women have a risk of suffering an ectopic pregnancy. So, what exactly is this form of pregnancy and how can it be treated?
What is ectopic pregnancy?
A pregnancy that is ectopic in nature occurs when an egg that has been fertilized is implanted in an area of the body outside the womb. This usually occurs in a fallopian tube. The results of this are that the fertilized egg will not develop into an embryo or grow to become a baby – both of which are incredibly upsetting and disheartening for the mother and partner. Ectopic pregnancies can result in a number of serious and dangerous health risks to the mother as a consequence of the fertilized eggs’ location.
What are the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy?
The symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy usually arise around the 5-14 week stage of the pregnancy. These symptoms may include the following:
- A missed period or delay of the usual period cycle
- Unexpected vaginal bleeding
- A one-sided form of abdominal pain with sensations that can be very subtle or more severe and painful.
- Pain in the bowels when waste is being removed from the body
What are the options and treatments for ectopic pregnancy?
If the growth and pregnancy is observed during its early stages, a medicine known as methotrexate can be used to prevent further egg growth or embryo development. The tissue is then absorbed back into the body. In over 50% of cases, however, the egg will die and cease to grow naturally and the medication may not be needed.
However, if the ectopic pregnancy is observed and detected much later down the line, the woman may need to undergo a surgical operation in order to have the fertilized egg removed from the fallopian tube.
It is vital that an ectopic pregnancy is noticed and detected as soon as possible, because if the egg continues to develop, it could continue to grow and eventually cause a rupture to the fallopian tube. This would result in internal bleeding that could very easily be fatal to the mother.
What are the symptoms of a ruptured fallopian tube?
- Pain in the tip of the shoulder
- Vomiting or feelings of nausea
- Dizziness or faint spells
- Sharp, sudden pain