Ectopic pregnancies, also known as tubal pregnancies, are a type of pregnancy that occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the wrong location in the uterus. This can happen during ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary) or during early pregnancy. About 1 in 10 women will experience an ectopic pregnancy at some point in their reproductive lives.
What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
If you are pregnant and your doctor finds that you have an ectopic pregnancy, there is a good chance that you will feel some discomfort. Ectopic pregnancies are rare, and most women only experience mild symptoms.
Ectopic pregnancies occur when the embryo implants outside the uterus (outside the fallopian tube). This can happen in either the ovary or the uterus.
The most common symptom of an ectopic pregnancy is pain in the lower abdomen, and other symptoms may include vaginal bleeding, cramping, nausea, and diarrhea. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must call your doctor immediately.
In most cases, ectopic pregnancies can be cured without any serious consequences. However, if your ectopic pregnancy becomes life-threatening, treatment may include surgery to remove the embryo or placement of tubal ligation (a type of birth control) to prevent future pregnancies.
Signs and Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and have an ectopic pregnancy, there are some tell-tale signs and symptoms to watch for. Ectopic pregnancies are rare, occurring in about one out of every 500 pregnancies. However, suppose you experience any of the following. In that case, it is important to schedule a checkup with your doctor: abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, vaginal bleeding or discharge that is not your regular menstrual flow, extreme fatigue or weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
How to Treat an Ectopic Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and you think that you may have an ectopic pregnancy, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. If you have any type of pain, especially sudden or severe, see your doctor as soon as possible.
2. If you are experiencing lightheadedness, dizziness, or nausea, seek medical attention immediately.
3. If you have a fever, be sure to tell your doctor so that they can check for other health problems that could be contributing to the fever.
4. If your period is late or absent, see your doctor as soon as possible. An ectopic pregnancy can cause a delay in your menstrual cycle.
5. If you experience any other symptoms or changes during your pregnancy that concern you, please talk to your doctor.
What to do if you are unable to treat an ectopic pregnancy
If you cannot treat an ectopic pregnancy, you can do a few things. However, the best option is typically to have the pregnancy terminated. If the ectopic pregnancy is in a late stage and there is no other option, some doctors may choose to perform a salpingectomy, a surgery to remove one or both of the tubes carrying the egg and sperm.
After Treatment: Follow-Up and Recovery Tips
Ectopic pregnancies can be very unpleasant, but fortunately, most women experience relief within a few days of receiving treatment. However, you should know a few things about your post-treatment routine to make the process as smooth as possible. Here are some tips to follow:
1. Make sure to take all of your prescribed medication as directed. This will help speed up the healing process and prevent any complications.
2. Avoid strenuous activity for at least six weeks after your treatment. This will allow your body to heal properly and reduce the risk of future injuries.
3. Drink plenty of fluids, especially if you are experiencing pelvic pain or pressure. This will help keep your kidneys functioning properly and promote speedy healing overall.