Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Understanding Ectopic Pregnancy

When it comes to pregnancy, there are any number of ways things can go wrong. Miscarriage, for example, can be one of the most distressing and unfortunate events a couple can experience, especially if they’ve been trying to get pregnant for any amount of time. Another frustrating condition, while it’s not actually a pregnancy, is an ectopic pregnancy. Experiencing an ectopic pregnancy can be frustrating and, in some ways, just as disappointing as a miscarriage early in your pregnancy.

An ectopic pregnancy is a condition where the egg is fertilized, but it doesn’t implant in the uterus. It implants somewhere else. From there, it starts to develop, but it will not have any actual chance of growing into a baby or being delivered. It will grow until it becomes painful, and often needs to be removed.

Usually, the fertilized egg will attach to the fallopian tubes in an ectopic pregnancy. In some cases, it may attach to the cervix, or even in the abdominal cavity. The fertilized egg has no way to receive nutrition when it’s in these places, and it’s not possible to move the fertilized egg into the uterus.

Recognizing an ectopic pregnancy can be a challenge. Usually, an ectopic pregnancy is painful. You’ll often have spotting or vaginal bleeding. You may feel dizzy, experience lower back pain or see your blood pressure drop. You may even have a positive pregnancy test.

An ectopic pregnancy is treated surgically.  The health care provider removes the fertilized egg from the woman’s body.  This can be done laparoscopically, which is much less painful and evasive than traditional surgeries.  If an ectopic pregnancy is detected extremely early, it can be treated with an injection which will dissolve the fertilized egg.  After treatment for an ectopic pregnancy, your health care provider will likely want to see you again soon to make sure that your hCG levels return to normal.

If you do have an ectopic pregnancy, it is likely that you may have some trouble getting pregnant in the future. The condition that led to the ectopic pregnancy will likely create difficulty for you, and it’s best to talk with your doctor about seeing what you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant successfully.

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