How to Recognize an Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is not often discussed even though, according to the March of Dimes, one in every fifty pregnancies in the United States is ectopic.   We hope to offer some clarity on what an ectopic pregnancy is and what you should know about ectopic pregnancy.   What is an ectopic pregnancy? A fertilized egg needs to attach or implant itself to the uterine wall for a normal pregnancy to occur. With an ectopic pregnancy, also known as a tubal pregnancy, the fertilized egg is implanted outside of the uterus. Typically, an ectopic pregnancy attaches to a fallopian tube. However, it can also implant itself in the abdominal cavity, the ovary, or the cervix.   Can an ectopic pregnancy progress like a normal pregnancy? Unfortunately, an ectopic pregnancy will not progress like a normal pregnancy. This is because the tissues outside the uterus cannot provide the support and blood supply needed for the pregnancy to grow. Meaning the fetus will not get what it needs to survive.   How long does an ectopic pregnancy last, and how is an ectopic pregnancy treated? An ectopic pregnancy typically lasts from 6 to 16 weeks. Sometimes, the implanted fetus will cause a rupture in the fallopian tube or wherever the pregnancy is implanted. This can be life-threatening to the mother. Rarely, the ectopic pregnancy will end up being miscarried. Other times, medication and/or surgery are needed to remove it. Treatment tends to be monitored as the pregnancy progresses. Alternatives does not provide treatment for ectopic pregnancies.   Why does an ectopic pregnancy happen? An ectopic pregnancy is caused when conditions slow down or block the movement of the fertilized egg from the fallopian tube into the uterus.   What does ectopic pregnancy feel like? An ectopic pregnancy may not feel much different from a normal pregnancy, including nausea, tender breasts, and fatigue. Other times, it may not even be noticeable. Despite the fact that an ectopic pregnancy cannot continue as normal due to improper placement, an ectopic pregnancy will result in a positive pregnancy test result.   Signs to look out for when experiencing an ectopic pregnancy:
  • Pelvic pain and light vaginal bleeding
  • Blood leaks. If blood begins leaking from the fallopian tube, you may feel shoulder pain or an urge to have a bowel movement.
  Emergency sign or life-threatening signs:
  • Severe abdominal or pelvic pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding
  • Heavy bleeding inside the abdomen
  • Extreme lightheadedness
  • Extreme shoulder pain
  • Fainting
  • Shock
  How can you know if you are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy? At Alternatives Medical Clinic, we are able to detect the location of a pregnancy by a by performing a limited obstetric ultrasound. We strongly encourage an ultrasound exam. Why? Because this test uses sound waves to create a picture of your body’s internal structures. A trained licensed health care provider conducting this ultrasound will be able to see whether the fertilized egg has implanted in the uterus. If no pregnancy is found inside the uterus after a positive pregnancy test, we will refer you to a higher level of care for further evaluation.   Can I get pregnant again after an ectopic pregnancy? According to the March of Dimes, approximately 33% of women who have had one ectopic pregnancy have a healthy pregnancy later. However, if you’ve had an ectopic pregnancy, you have about a 3 in 20 chance or 15% of having another.   If you think you might be pregnant and are concerned about an ectopic pregnancy, we can help. Alternatives Medical Clinic is a fully licensed pregnancy medical clinic in Escondido, California. We are accredited by the AAAHC (Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc.). Additionally, our services are free and confidential as allowed by state law. So, don’t wait to find the help you need.   Make an appointment today!       Compiled sources: Ectopic Pregnancy Statistics [Internet] Verywell Family [March 3rd, 2021] Available from: Ectopic Pregnancy [Internet] Mayo Clinic [December 18th, 2020] Available from: How Long Can you be Pregnant with an Ectopic Pregnancy [Internet] Psichology Answers [Accessed February 20th, 2022] Available from: Ectopic Pregnancy [Internet] Cleveland Clinic [February 6th, 2020] Available from:
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