Understanding What Ectopic Pregnancies are, and How They are
While the majority of pregnancies develop as smoothly and as normally as can be expected, sometimes very
serious complications can occur in the first trimester. An ectopic pregnancy is one of these serious and
sometimes deadly complications.
Many women have never even heard of this term, until it is happening to them. By definition, an ectopic
pregnancy is a condition in which a fertilized egg settles and grows in any location other than the inner lining
of the uterus.
About ninety-eight percent of these complications end up settling in the fallopian tube. However, they can
occur in other locations as well, including the ovary, cervix, and abdominal cavity.
While this is not considered common, it occurs in about one in every fifty pregnancies. There are many health
risks that can result from this occurrence, both for the mother, and for the fetus.
One of the most serious health risks is a
rupture leading to internal bleeding. In the
past, the rate of death in these occurrences
was around fifty percent. With the
advancements in medicine and surgical
techniques, this number has improved to only
about five in every ten thousand instances.
Modern medicine has done wonders when it
comes to the preservation and safety of
mothers and babies, in the cases of
complications. In circumstances where death
does still occur, the major reason is due to
failure to seek early medical attention.
However, ectopic complications are the
leading cause of pregnancy-related death in
the first trimester. There are a few different
ways to detect this problem.
Symptoms of this serious issue are often
confused with those of a miscarriage, or pelvic
inflammatory disease. The most common
symptoms are abdominal and pelvic pain,
and vaginal bleeding.
A rupture due to this condition is a true medical emergency, and requires immediate care. If you suspect you
have a rupture, call 911 right away and let them know.
Other symptoms include a feeling of lightheadedness, and dizziness. In some cases, you may pass out, or feel
that you are about to.
This sensation is due to the amount of internal bleeding that may be occurring inside you. If this is left
untreated, in can result in death.
Often women will have a pale complexion, and even clammy-feeling skin. Sweat may begin to form all over
the body, and the heart generally speeds up to over one hundred beats per minute.
You may experience abdominal or pelvic pain so severe that you cannot even stand up. If this is the case, call
911 right away if you do not have someone who can drive you to an emergency room right away.
These signs usually appear about six to eight weeks after the last normal menstrual period, but they may
occur later if it is not located in the fallopian tube. Unfortunately, as many as fifteen to twenty percent of
women with a bleeding ectopic issue do not recognize they have symptoms of this problem.
Their diagnosis is delayed until the woman shows signs of shock. If you are lucky enough to recognize the
signs and seek immediate and proper treatment, you will still probably have some treatment options.
Treatment options include observation, laparoscopy, laparotomy, and medication. Your doctor or surgeon
will know what is right for your particular case.
Some issues of this matter may resolve on their own, without the need for any intervention, while others will
need urgent surgery due to life-threatening bleeding. However, most women are treated with medications or
Two surgical options are available: laparotomy, and laparoscopy. Laparotomy is an open procedure in which
a transverse incision is cut across the lower abdomen.
On the other hand, laparoscopy involves inserting viewing instruments into the pelvis through tiny incisions
in the skin. In most occasions, laparoscopy is preferred over laparotomy because of the tiny incisions used,
and the quicker recovery afterwards.
Under optimal conditions, a small incision can be made in the fallopian tube, and the embryo is removed,
leaving the tube intact. However, certain conditions make laparoscopy less effective.
This may be due to pelvic scar tissue, and excessive blood in the abdomen or pelvis. If you feel you are having
any strange or overly painful symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor about them right away.
They will be able to evaluate you for any abnormalities, and make sure that you and the baby are both safe.
Do not be afraid to call you doctor at the first sign of symptoms, as this could end up saving your life.