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Ectopic pregnancy: all you want to know about it

Pregnancy is the most beautiful phase of a woman’s life. It helps a woman become a mother and begins with the process of conception. After following the entire process of conception, the zygote gets implanted into the uterus and starts multiplying to become a fetus. But, sometimes, the fertilized egg does not reach the uterus and gets implanted into the Fallopian , cervix or abdominal cavity. This type of pregnancy is called ectopic pregnancy. This ectopic pregnancy if not removed or treated immediately is a high risk. Here is everything you want to know about ectopic pregnancy.

Causes of ectopic pregnancy

Most of the times there are no causes of ectopic pregnancy. There are no particular causes of ectopic pregnancy. Anyone can suffer from ectopic pregnancy. But, still here are some of the risk factors that can be associated with ectopic pregnancy. It is not sure that with these risk factors there are hundred percent chances of ectopic pregnancy, but, they may be the cause for ectopic pregnancy. These risk factors are as follows

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease and scarring of Fallopian tubes due to infection of chlamydia or gonorrhea or previous surgery.
  • Use of assisted reproductive technology like IVF.
  • Hormonal factors especially after the age of 35.
  • Use of contraceptive devices.
  • Smoking
  • Structural abnormalities of Fallopian tube

Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy

The most common symptoms of ectopic pregnancy include nausea and breast soreness. But, these symptoms are mostly present in normal pregnancies also.  So, you need to look for other symptoms in order to know if you are suffering from ectopic pregnancy or not. These symptoms are as follows

  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • Sharp pain in abdomen, pelvis, shoulder or back
  • Rectal pressure
  • Severe pain on one side of abdomen
  • Dizziness or fainting

If you have any of these symptoms and if you know or suspect that you are pregnant then make a point to visit your gynecologist immediately.

Diagnosis for ectopic pregnancy

When you visit the doctor, as such there is not physical examination that a doctor can perform for ectopic pregnancy. The doctor may perform transvaginal ultrasound. The transvaginal ultrasound is almost sensitive to 90% of ectopic pregnancy. If there is no gestational sac present in the uterus, there are high chances of ectopic pregnancy.

The doctor may also ask for blood test. The blood test measures HCG and progesterone hormones which are present during pregnancy. If these hormones are higher then normal level, but no gestational sac is seen intrauterine, then there are 99%chances of ectopic pregnancy. If these hormones start decreasing slowly, then it indicates that there is the rupture of Fallopian tube and the doctor needs to take immediate action.

If the patient has severe pain and bleeding, then the doctor will not wait and may take medical or surgical action immediately.

Treatment for ectopic pregnancy

Depending on the reports and the transvaginal sonography, the doctors will decide the plan of action. If there is no urgency, then the doctor may take the decision of treating you with medicines.


The doctor prescribes medicines that stops the further growth of the embryo and prevents the Fallopian tube from bursting. According to AAFP methotrexate is one such medicine that stops the development of fetus. This may lead to abortion, the developing embryo may be reabsorbed in a woman’s body or may pass out with periods.

But, with this medicine you need to strictly monitor HCG levels. This medicine may sometimes cause termination of undetected intrauterine pregnancy or damage to the surviving fetus.

Surgical treatment

Some doctors consider it safe to do surgical intervention. The doctors perform a laparotomy to remove the fetus from the Fallopian tube. The doctors insert a small camera into the incision to see the procedure that is followed. Then the doctor will remove the ectopic pregnancy and the embryo from the Fallopian tube.

Whether to do surgical treatment for the otherwise stable patient is a very hard decision to take. If the patient is otherwise stable. The doctors will keep a close watch and go for medicines and if the beta HCG levels are falling constantly, then the doctor’s will wait and watch, because there are possibilities that the ectopic pregnancy will terminate naturally.

Home care after the surgical treatment

The first and the foremost care that you should take is get a lot of rest. At least, for the week following the procedure. Also, keep a check that your incision is clean, dry and there is not infection. Make sure that you drink a lot of fluid to avoid constipation and take a healthy diet.

Make sure you do not lift any heavy object. You may experience some vaginal bleeding or clots up to six weeks after the surgery. Please contact to the doctor if you experience pain, excessive bleeding or infection at the site of your incision.

So these are some of the things you should know about ectopic pregnancy.