What is Ectopic Pregnancy?

What is Ectopic Pregnancy? An ectopic pregnancy occurs when an embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus. These cases can be potentially life-threatening and require immediate treatment, and the pregnancy is nonviable (meaning it cannot progress normally without threatening the woman’s health). 

The best way to rule out ectopic pregnancy and ensure your next medical steps are protecting your health is to get an ultrasound. Professional medical care from the caring staff here at Life Line Pregnancy Center can help you put your health and safety first.

What Is Ectopic Pregnancy?

In healthy pregnancies, a fertilized egg implants within the uterus – technically, growing on the uterine wall. Sometimes, an embryo will implant outside of the uterus – most commonly, in the fallopian tube, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy. 

Ectopic pregnancies are non-viable, meaning they cannot survive. If left untreated or if treatment is delayed, this complication can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening bleeding, or even a ruptured fallopian tube. 

What Are the Risk Factors for an Ectopic Pregnancy?

While these pregnancies can occur any time, some risk factors may increase the chances of this happening to particular women. Some factors may include:

  • Previous ectopic pregnancy
  • Scar tissue in the fallopian tubes from infection or surgery
  • Smoking
  • Becoming pregnant while using an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control or after a tubal ligation

What Are The Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy?

Often, ectopic pregnancies begin as you’d expect a pregnancy to go – through a missed menstrual period and a positive pregnancy test. After that, however, early symptoms of ectopic pregnancy may appear such as light vaginal bleeding and mild pelvic pain. 

As the pregnancy continues, other symptoms may present themselves, such as:

  • Abdominal or pelvic pain with bleeding
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Fainting
  • Shoulder pain 

How Is Ectopic Pregnancy Diagnosed?

The only way to definitively diagnose an ectopic pregnancy is through an ultrasound. This diagnostic imaging procedure allows a nurse or provider to produce an image of the uterus and the surrounding organs, locating the pregnancy and confirming if it is located in the uterus or not. 

Diagnosing and detecting it early on is vital to protect a woman’s health. Delay in treatment could have dangerous consequences and possibly lasting side effects. 

If you are newly pregnant, it’s unwise to wait and see if the symptoms present themselves. Instead, getting an ultrasound early on can help you have peace of mind and protect your health. However, if you think you could be experiencing symptoms, don’t wait – seek medical care immediately.

Treatment of Ectopic Pregnancy

If it is diagnosed early, the most effective treatment plans will involve medication to resolve the complication and keep the pregnancy from progressing. It is important to note that this medication is not the same type or dosage as abortion medication – and ectopic pregnancy will not be resolved by an abortion. 

In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the embryo. This is often a second course of action if medication does not resolve the concern, or if the pregnancy has progressed beyond a point at which the medication is effective. Surgery may also be necessary if it has caused bleeding. 

What Happens During Surgery for an Ectopic Pregnancy?

This surgery is typically laparoscopic surgery, meaning it is less invasive. The medical provider uses a small abdominal incision and a camera to guide the surgical procedure. Or a surgical procedure called dilation and curettage may be used. In some cases, the fallopian tube where it occurs will remain intact, while in other cases it must be removed. 

Further complications may result in cases where the tube begins to cause internal bleeding or ruptures from the progression of the pregnancy. In these cases, immediate emergency surgery is required to remove the embryo and the tube and stop any further bleeding.   

Where Can I Go For A Free Ultrasound and Pregnancy Confirmation? 

Life Line Pregnancy Center’s compassionate and professional medical staff would be honored to assist you. We can confirm your pregnancy and offer an ultrasound exam to verify key details about your pregnancy – all at no cost to you. 

Schedule your free and confidential appointment today to put your health and safety first. You are not alone on your pregnancy decision journey – we’re here for you no matter what!