Ectopic Pregnancy

What is the threat caused by this type of abnormal pregnancy? What types of pain and body changes should a mother watch out for?

Last Updated Jun 22, 2013.

An ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy) is one that is located outside of the uterus, also called the womb. This is a serious medical condition that is actually life threatening to the mother who is diagnosed with this type of pregnancy.

This diagnosis is often not found until a woman is up to 10 weeks into the pregnancy, although it has begun to happen within the beginning two weeks of the unknown ectopic pregnancy.

This pregnancy occurs because the fertilized egg remains in the fallopian tubes. During a normal pregnancy the egg is dropped down through the fallopian tube and enters into the uterus, where it then attaches and grows along the lining.

However, when an ectopic pregnancy develops the fertilized egg attaches to an abdominal organ and even could attach to an ovary.  Once this process occurs, an emergency operation is needed because there is no possible way for the baby to survive and grow outside of the womb.

Symptoms and Pain Locations of an Ectopic Pregnancy

Mild left side pain due to cramping may occur once the egg has settled for more than a few weeks. Physical pain can also be felt in the pelvic and lower back regions of your body. It is possible for the abnormal pregnancy to get worse due to a rupture, which means that pain may get more intense, and another ectopic pregnancy pain location can be felt in one or both of your shoulders.

Most common to those who have this severity of an ectopic pregnancy is a sharp pain in their lower abdomen, which could then lead to fainting or rectal pressure.

ectopic pregnancy

Other ectopic pregnancy symptoms to look out for are more common and not so severe.

Having no period could possibly be a sign because it will take the appearance of a normal pregnancy. Also keep an eye out for if you are experiencing any kind of abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Often time’s women may mistake this as a miscarriage and assume that they do not need to consult a doctor. However, it would be best for you to go and see what a doctor has to say due to the life threatening conditions that are at stake.

Ectopic Pregnancy Testing Procedure

After you have experienced some of the above symptoms and consulted your physician, they will then go through a process of various testing procedures to determine if it is an abnormal pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy testing could involve one or more of the following procedures, and most often it always depends on what symptoms you have been experiencing. That is why it would be in your best interests to not withhold any information from them.

One of the two most common test procedures for an ectopic pregnancy is having your blood levels tested for hormones. HCG is a hormone that usually rises within one to two days showing that you are pregnant. The second common procedure would be an ultrasound with a pregnancy test being taken. Or your health care provider may simply perform a pelvic exam to see if there is any tenderness in the area.

Results may not be found within the first testing procedure, and further testing may be needed before the physician has been able to confirm that you in fact have an ectopic pregnancy. Once they have concluded this to be your diagnosis, they will then have to schedule you an appointment date to have the abnormality removed by means of surgery.

They can also give you a medication to remove the egg, but that is only for those who have not experienced a rupture, and are being monitored closely. Regardless of the removal procedure, you must have this egg removed to prevent any further serious injuries from occurring.

Who is at Risk?

Women over the age of 35 are at a higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy than women in their younger adult years. Those women who have had their tubes tied, and then reversed the procedure to get pregnant again may be at risk as well. Those women who are at risk most commonly are at risk when there has been some type of present or past infection scarring, and those who have had an ectopic pregnancy before can also find this to be recurring. Changes in hormones have been considered to be a likely cause, but further research on this cause is still needed.

Remember: if you feel any of these symptoms and have any concerns consult your physician immediately. This type of pregnancy is best handled and prevented during the beginning stages because a rupture may occur with the egg outside of the uterus within a long period of time. This rupture will then cause internal bleeding and shock, which requires further medical attention as well. However, statistics have shown that women who have experienced a rupture rarely resulted in death, but hospitalization was needed.

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