What is ectopic pregnancy?
- a pregnancy which starts developing outside the uterus instead inside
- most often in the Fallopian tube
- on the ovary
- within the abdomen
- on the cervix
- occurs in 1% of all pregnancies
- the fetus is unable to survive
Why is ectopic pregnancy dangerous?
- because it can lead to life-threatening bleeding if it is not spotted in time
Who is under increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy?
- women who have had:
- pelvic inflammatory disease – ovary or tube inflammation
- surgery close to the tube
- prior ectopic pregnancy (the risk of reoccurrence is 10%)
- a miscarriage
- intrauterine device
How is ectopic pregnancy discovered?
- pregnancy test turns out positive and an ultrasound does not reveal the fetus in the uterus
- irregular pregnancy hormone (beta HCG) levels in blood tests
What are the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy?
- pain – not always present in early stages of pregnancy
- bleeding – not always present in early stages of pregnancy
- pregnancy symptoms
- in ectopic pregnancy burst severe pain and loss of consciousness occur as a result of sudden loss of blood
How is ectopic pregnancy been treated?
- if the beta HCG levels drop in two tests that are two days apart, we can only wait for spontaneous miscarriage, monitoring the condition of the patient along the way
- early treatment of an ectopic pregnancy is possible with methotrexate injections
- late treatment of an ectopic pregnancy, or of a pregnancy with high levels of beta HCG, are done surgically, usually doing a laparoscopy
- salpingostomy – remove only the pregnancy leaving the tube intact
- salpingectomy – removing both the tube and the pregnancy.