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Ectopic- A life threatening pregnancy

News Agencies | Updated on: 30 June 2017, 11:17 IST

Ectopic Pregnancy, a leading cause of pregnancy related death, is a rare condition of embryo development outside the normal uterine cavity.

In a normal pregnancy, ovary releases an egg into fallopian tube. If the egg meets with a sperm, the fertilized egg moves into uterus to attach to its lining and continues to grow for the next nine months.

But in few cases, the fertilized egg stays in the fallopian tube. In that case, it's called an ectopic pregnancy or a tubal pregnancy. In such a case, the pregnancy cannot continue and needs immediate attention and emergency treatment.

Ectopic pregnancy happens mostly within the first few weeks of pregnancy. You might not even know you're pregnant, so it can be a big shock. Doctors usually discover it by the eighth week of pregnancy.

The major cause of an ectopic pregnancy is a damaged fallopian tube. The defected tube doesn't let a fertilized egg enter into uterus, so it starts growing in the fallopian tube or somewhere else in your abdomen.

These days abortion pills are very popular and are available easily, be sure that you are not ectopic pregnant before using these pills. Such a situation can be life threatening. This is even more crucial in unmarried pregnant girls who take these pills very secretly. It is advised to consult a doctor before taking abortion pills and rule out ectopic pregnancy.

Dr Archana Dhawan Bajaj, gynaecologist and obstetrician, Nurture IVF Centre, explains ,"Early detection is the only solution for prevention of risk. The early symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are- pelvic or belly pain, light vaginal bleeding, nausea and vomiting, lower abdominal pain, sharp abdominal cramps, pain on one side of body, dizziness or weakness, pain in your shoulder, neck, or rectum. If the fallopian tube ruptures, the pain and bleeding could be severe enough to cause fainting."

"Sometimes you may not have any symptom; in that condition your routine early pregnancy ultrasound may show an ectopic pregnancy. In any situation of doubt an ultrasound and blood test for serum Beta HCG helps in diagnosis," she added.

Dr Archana also explains "many times when it is left undiagnosed and allowed to go beyond six weeks the pregnancy leads to rupture of the fallopian tube leading to bleeding inside the abdomen along with severe pain, leading to shock and the woman can collapse."

Adding, "This is an emergency situation as woman needs urgent surgery to stop the bleeding and would also require blood transfusion. If managed in time the patient recovers well although her ruptured fallopian tube might have to be removed."

If there is a rupture, surgery is done to stop blood loss and remove the pregnancy. After treatment for an ectopic pregnancy, patient usually have to have additional blood tests to make sure that the entire tubal pregnancy was removed. The blood tests detect the HCG level, the hormone that is produced during pregnancy.

Timely treatment of ectopic pregnancy helps in securing fertility.

After ectopic pregnancy, there is good chance of normal pregnancy in the future, but it could be challenging conceiving again. This difficulty is more common in women who also had fertility problems before the ectopic pregnancy.

Your prognosis depends on your fertility before the ectopic pregnancy, as well as the extent of any damage incurred.

The chances of having another ectopic pregnancy are approximately 15 percent. So if you are pregnant and have any concerns about the pregnancy consult your gynae as it is important to make sure that it's detected early.

Pregnancy is a joyful journey however one has to cautious at every semester. Every symptom must be taken very seriously and immediate consultation to be sorted from a doctor. Similarly, early detection and awareness about Ectopic pregnancy is the only solution to prevent its risk.


First published: 30 June 2017, 11:17 IST