For women who are conceiving, learning every information or tips about pregnancy can quickly become a priority. It’s common to keep both the mothers’ and the babies’ condition healthy. Among the information sought, ectopic pregnancy comes out as one of the most requested information.

What exactly is an ectopic pregnancy? How does it affect the mothers and the babies? What are the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy and how does it occur? Let’s answer all these questions slowly in this article.

What is Ectopic Pregnancy?

Ectopic pregnancy is a severe condition where the fertilised egg does not stick and grow on the uterus lining. Instead, the fertilised egg grows outside the main cavity of the uterus.

In most cases of ectopic pregnancy, the fertilised egg grows in the fallopian tube. The fallopian tube is between the ovaries and the uterus, and its function is to push the egg into the uterus.

The fallopian tube also has cilia or small hair-like projections that help to push the egg into the uterus. The ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fallopian tube fails to push the egg into the uterus. There are many reasons for the failure such as infections or inflammation of the fallopian tube.

Ectopic pregnancy is very dangerous for the mother’s health as it can cause massive internal bleeding when the egg is growing and stretching the tube.

Unfortunately, in most cases, medical experts would recommend terminating the pregnancy for the sake of the mother’s life. However, there are also cases where ectopic pregnancy can be reversed.

What are the Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy?

Early signs of ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Pelvic discomfort or bowel movement
  • Shoulder pain

It is also important to remember that not every woman experience the symptoms until the fallopian tube ruptures. This is why regular checkup or consultation during pregnancy is very important.

Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy

It is uncommon for an ectopic pregnancy to occur naturally. Most cases of ectopic pregnancy happen with causes. Here are the possible causes of ectopic pregnancy:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) caused by sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia in particular
  • Previous surgery on the fallopian tube
  • Smoking
  • A condition where the tissue that lines the uterus grows elsewhere. If tissues grow on the fallopian tube, it may cause scarring and inflammation of the tube

How Can the Ectopic Pregnancy Be Treated?

Treatment of the ectopic pregnancy may vary according to the diagnosis given by medical experts. If the possibility of ectopic pregnancy is 100% and the embryo is still small, the doctor may suggest methotrexate. The drug is injected into a muscle and reaches the embryo which eventually stops the cells of the placenta from growing.

Another method of treatment involves laparoscopy surgery which is safer as the doctor will try to remove the embryo while keeping the fallopian tube intact.

However, if the tube is already ruptured or if heavy bleeding already occurs, laparoscopy surgery is not an option. Instead, the provider might suggest laparotomy which involves a larger incision in the abdomen.

Losing a pregnancy is devastating, and it may leave a deep trauma to try for another baby. Give you and your partner time to grieve and heal the wound. Counselling can also be an option to recuperate. Always make sure that emotional pain and physical wound from the previous surgery is healed before trying for another baby.

Read about the signs of false labour here on the Okadoc blog