What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
|An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy outside the uterus. The most common site is within a fallopian tube. More rarely, it is also found within the ovary or in the cervix.
How Commons Is An Ectopic Pregnancy?
Out of every 1,000 pregnancies, 5 - 7 are ectopic pregnancies. It is more common in women who have had an ectopic pregnancy before, as well as in women who have a history of pelvic infection.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Ectopic Pregnancy?
If a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, she may:
- Have missed her period
- Notice pregnancy symptoms, such as breast tenderness and nausea
- Have irregular vaginal bleeding, known as spotting
- Feel lower abdominal or pelvic pain on one or both sides that grows worse over time
If the ectopic pregnancy ruptures, she may:
- Feel severe pain in her lower belly
- Develop shoulder pain triggered by internal bleeding
- Feel dizzy and notice a whirling sensation
- Faint or pass out
What Is The Danger Of An Ectopic Pregnancy?
The danger of an ectopic pregnancy is internal bleeding when the ectopic pregnancy ruptures. Your life can be at risk if the bleeding is severe.
Diagnosis Of An Ectopic Pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is usually suspected after an ultrasound fails to detect a pregnancy in the womb.
Occasionally, blood tests of your pregnancy hormone levels and additional ultrasound are required to help make a diagnosis.
Ultimately, the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy can only be confirmed by an operation.
What Operation Will I Need For An Ectopic Pregnancy?
The operation is called a laparoscopy. It is an operation where a fine telescope is inserted near the belly button into your tummy. This allows your doctor to visualise the pelvic organs and the ectopic pregnancy in the fallopian tube.
Sometimes, when there is massive bleeding, a laparotomy may be required. This involves a larger cut in your tummy to perform the operation.
Do not worry about pain from the operation as it is done while you are asleep under general anaesthesia.
Treatment Of An Ectopic Pregnancy
The treatment of an ectopic pregnancy is usually surgery. Depending on the severity of the ectopic pregnancy and your fertility requirement, your doctor will discuss the options of keeping or removing your fallopian tube with you.
Under certain circumstances, additional blood tests and injections or even another surgery is required after your operation for the ectopic pregnancy.
In a small number of selected patients, treatment with injections may be an option.
Pregnancy After An Ectopic Pregnancy
If the ectopic pregnancy was treatment without the removal of a tube, a woman still has a reasonable chance for future successful pregnancies.
Removal of a tube may not affect her chances of getting pregnant if the condition of the other unaffected tube is good.
A woman who had an ectopic pregnancy is at a slightly increased risk for another ectopic pregnancy. Hence, she should speak with her gynaecologist about her risk and the measures for early evaluation of her next pregnancy.
Where Can I Seek Treatment?
KK Women's & Children's Hospital provides round the clock service at its Urgent O&G Centre located at Basement 1. There will be a specialist on duty to attend to women with symptoms suggestive of ectopic pregnancy.
Useful phone number:
New / Change / Cancel appointments : 6294 4050