An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than in the uterus, most commonly in the Fallopian tubes. Sometimes also referred to as a tubal pregnancy, these are not viable because the Fallopian tubes are not designed to carry a pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is relatively rare, occurring in about one of every 50 pregnancies.
What causes an ectopic pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy can occur for a few different reasons. If the Fallopian tubes are inflamed or infected, there’s an increased risk for the fertilized egg implanting there instead of in the uterus. Scar tissue from surgery on the tubes can cause them to be blocked, impeding the egg’s movement through the tubes. Operations in the pelvic area can also cause ectopic pregnancy, as well as birth defects that caused the tubes to be deformed.
Women who are between the ages of 35 and 44 are at an increased risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. Previous ectopic pregnancies, abortions, pelvic and abdominal injuries, and surgeries can also increase the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy.
Why you should get an ultrasound to check for an ectopic pregnancy
It’s essential to get an ultrasound if you are pregnant because it will reveal the location of the pregnancy. If it is located outside of the uterus, an ultrasound will show that. It’s vital to discover this sooner rather than later because ectopic pregnancies are not viable and can be life-threatening.
If you’re experiencing sharp, stabbing pain, bleeding, or other gastrointestinal issues, you may have an ectopic pregnancy. You’ll want to get an ultrasound as soon as possible to confirm and get in touch with your doctor immediately if your pain intensifies or lasts longer than a few minutes.
What you should do if you have an ectopic pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is dangerous if undetected for a variety of reasons. It can cause damage to your pelvis, Fallopian tubes, and abdomen. If severe, the damage may be irreversible.
If you think you have an ectopic pregnancy, it’s important to contact your doctor right away. The longer the pregnancy stays in the Fallopian tubes, the higher the risk for damage will be. Methotrexate may be prescribed if the pregnancy is detected early enough, which allows your body to absorb the pregnancy tissue.
If your tube has ruptured, emergency treatment will be needed to stop the bleeding, and surgery may be necessary to remove all or part of the tube.
If you think you may be pregnant, have not seen a doctor and need an ultrasound, we offer them at no cost. Please call to schedule your appointment today!