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Ectopic Pregnancy in Plain English

Posted Mar 28 2011 10:59pm


When women become pregnant the egg is fertilized at usually forms into a cute little human being within what is known as the womb. Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the egg germinates outside of the uterus (womb). There are different reasons why this can happen and only one solution if this condition occurs.

The fallopian tubes are the body’s highway, so to speak, for the egg to travel to get within the uterus. At times these tubes become blocked and this can cause ectopic pregnancy. The fertilized egg would then attach itself to the fallopian tubes themselves and the baby would not be able to come to term. This is why ectopic pregnancy is sometimes referred to as a tubular pregnancy. It is also referred to as a cervical pregnancy when the egg attaches itself to the cervix or a ectopic pregnancystomach pregnancy when it attaches in the stomach area.

The reasons and conditions that can cause the fallopian tubes to become blocked can be human or health caused. Smokers are at a higher risk. If the mother has ever suffered from the diseases of chlamydia or gonorrhea then a pelvic inflammatory disease may result and block the tubes. Endometriosis can cause scar tissue to form within the fallopian tube area and cause blockage as well. Also if the mother had been exposed to a chemical referred to as DES before she was born would cause problems later down the line.

There are a few things to be aware of in terms of symptoms to watch out for. By no means should any of these alone be considered a sign of ectopic pregnancy. Watch out for abnormal vaginal bleeding, amenorrhea, breast tenderness, low back pain, mild cramping on one side of the pelvis, nausea or pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic areas. Pain in the lower abdomen may actually occur quickly, sharply and severely. Worse symptoms may occur including ruptures and bleeds, fainting or feeling faint, extreme pressure in the rectum, and pain in the shoulder area.

There a variety of tests that the doctor may perform to see if the mother is suffering from an ectopic pregnancy. These include a quantitative HCG blood test, transvaginal ultrasound or pregnancy ultrasound, a D and C or a laparotomy. The ultrasounds, when taken six weeks into the pregnancy, will show where the egg has attached itself for growth. The blood test will show if there is a low count of the pregnancy hormone known as HCG or not. When it is low, there is a problem.

Treatment for an ectopic pregnancy will be determinate upon how far along the problem pregnancy is. The bottom line is, this type of pregnancy cannot continue to birth, it’s impossible. There is no place in this instance for the baby to form properly and unfortunately the only humane thing to do is to terminate the pregnancy. If found early enough, before the fallopian tube is damaged, the medicine methotrexate will more than likely be prescribed to terminate the pregnancy. A laparoscopic surgery may be necessary if the pregnancy is too far along.

The good news is, most pregnancies do not result in ectopic pregnancies and children are allowed to go to term and be born. If the mother does suffer from an ectopic pregnancy it is possible for her to have babies in the future. It’s also possible this type of pregnancy will occur again. If the mother is 35 or over it’s possible there will be a problem pregnancy. The mother to be should try not to get STDs, and should also try to quit smoking in order to gain a chance at a normal pregnancy.

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