The term “ectopic” literally means “out of place”. So, naturally ectopic pregnancy refers to any abnormal pregnancy condition where the embryo gets implanted anywhere in the female reproductive system other than the uterus. It may be the fallopian tube (which is most likely), cervix, ovaries etc. This is an emergency condition which needs immediate attention because it may be life threatening.
1. Diagnosis – Ectopic pregnancies occur during the first few weeks though it may not be diagnosed by the physician before the 7th or 8th week of pregnancy. One must realize as to when this ectopic pregnancy is most likely to happen. About two percent of all the pregnancies are ectopic pregnancies.
2. Causes – The risk of ectopic pregnancy is increased when the mother may have pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis or other conditions like STDs. Mutilated fallopian tube, unsucessful ligation of tubes, use of fertility drugs, use of IUD or in vitro fertilization may also be the cause of ectopic pregnancy. It may also be genetic. Pelvic surgeries also increases the risk of having ectopic pregnancy.
3. Symptoms – ectopic pregnancies may lead to severe blood loss and may affect future fertility negatively. So it is important to know the symptoms of such abnormal pregnancy so that the mother is able to realize herself and take timely action. In case you are having problems like vaginal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, pains and cramps in the lower abdomen, pain in the rectum, shoulder and neck pain etc. especially during the initial weeks, do not delay!! Consult your doctor immediately.
4. Treatment – in case the fallopian tube has ruptured, then surgery is required to stop the bleeding. The ovary or the fallopian tube may be removed depending on the extent of the rupture. If the ruture has not occurred then you may go for a laparoscopic surgery for removing the emvryo and fixing the fallopian tube. In this kind of surgery the function of the fallopian tube remains unaffected. If the fallopian tube has not ruptured and the pregnancy has not matured, then physicians may also suggest medication to stall the progress of the pregnancy.
5. Recovery – you have to wait for quite sometime ( a few months atleast) before you conceive again. If your fallopian tube has been removed, then future pregnancy will be possible only if the other tube is functioning properly.