Understanding Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that can't, physically, go full term because of the location where the baby has developed. This is a pregnancy where the baby develops outside of the woman's uterus. This is a result of the fertilized egg from the ovaries implanting in the wrong location. Most of the time, the ectopic pregnancy develops in the fallopian tubes, thus giving it the name "tubal pregnancy." These pregnancies can also be found outside of the uterus, on the ovaries and even attached to the bowels.  If ectopic pregnancies are not treated in time they can cause the fallopian tubes to burst leading to significant blood loss in the mother.

The IUD and Ectopic Pregnancies

There are a number of conditions and risk factors that can lead to ectopic pregnancies. Many people hear about ectopic pregnancy in relation to the IUD. The IUD, in and of itself, does not cause an ectopic pregnancy. Rather, having a normal pregnancy is unlikely if you have an IUD. If you get pregnant while using an IUD (which is not very likely), the chances are higher that the pregnancy is not developing inside the uterus and thus will be an ectopic pregnancy.  However, most people, once they remove the IUD, will have normal pregnancies and are no longer at risk for ectopic pregnancies.

Other Risk Factors

Other risks for having an ectopic pregnancy include the following:

*You are more likely to have one if you've had reproductive tract infections like a pelvic inflammatory disease, chlamydia, or gonorrhea.

*You are at higher risk if you've already had abdominal surgery, particularly if the surgery was for the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, lower abdomen or bowels.  

*Some fertility medications can put you at higher risk for an ectopic pregnancy if you were using it when you conceived.

What Are The Symptoms?

An ectopic pregnancy feels like a miscarriage in many ways. The symptoms include such things as abdominal and pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding. If, in addition, you have many other symptoms explained below, you'll want to call 911 immediately. A ruptured ectopic pregnancy has symptoms which include feeling lightheaded and dizzy, having a pale complexion and clammy skin, sweating, fainting, having a fast heartbeat over 100 beats per minute, pain radiating to the shoulder, and having abdominal or pelvic pain that is severe enough that you can't stand. Today, many ectopic pregnancies never produce symptoms; rather, they are diagnosed and treated in a timely fashion because the woman is identified as high risk.

Getting the Help You Need

It's often tricky to know when you need help, since an ectopic pregnancy is often mistaken for a miscarriage. When you have unusual bleeding during a pregnancy, you should always call your doctor. It doesn't matter whether it's a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy - your doctor will want to examine you. Therefore, always start with the doctor. If you can't reach the doctor and you find your symptoms to be particularly debilitating, you should go to the emergency room. You should also definitely head for the emergency room if you have severe stomach pains, heavy bleeding, dizziness or if you are passing out or falling down.

Of course, no one wants to experience a pregnancy of this sort. Knowing the facts should help to be more aware of this type of pregnancy and to be prepared to deal with the issues at hand, should you need to do so.

Learn more at this site about Treatment for Ectopic Pregnancy.

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