Ectopic Pregnancy: A quick guide for Filipino moms
Don't know what an Ectopic Pregnancy is? Don't worry, you aren't alone! Read this for a quick overview as to what it is and how it can affect you.
According to Dr. Eric Daiter of The New Jersey Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, an ectopic pregnancy, or tubal pregnancy, is one that occurs outside of the womb. The most common location for an ectopic pregnancy is inside one of the fallopian tubes. This can occur when an egg is fertilized and does not implant into the uterus.
The fertilized egg can attach to the inside of the fallopian tube, the ovary, the outside of the uterus or to the intestine. Fertilized eggs that implant outside of the uterus can not grow to become fetuses due to the lack of nutrients and non-accommodating organs.
An ectopic pregnancy is very dangerous. As the attached fertilized egg grows, it can damage organs and cause severe internal bleeding. For example, your fallopian tube isn’t designed to expand and accommodate a growing fetus. Therefore, if a fertilized egg implants there, it can rupture the tube. Arteries that are located nearby can rupture as well.
The most common symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are vaginal bleeding and abdominal or pelvic pain. Symptoms can become much more severe if the ectopic pregnancy ruptures. You may become dizzy or even pass out. You may experience a fast heart rate of over one hundred beats per minute. You may become pale, clammy and sweaty. Pain will become so severe that you are unable to stand or walk. Many women go into shock when an ectopic pregnancy ruptures.
If you suspect that you have an ectopic pregnancy or ectopic rupture, then you should immediately seek medical attention as you could have an immediate life-threatening condition. First, pregnancy will be confirmed. Second, an ultrasound will be performed to confirm that the pregnancy is ectopic. This will also help locate the developing embryo (fertilized egg).
If the embryo or the gestational sac is too small to be detected by ultrasound, and you are in stable condition, then your doctor may monitor you closely by performing blood tests every two to three days to follow hormone levels. When the pregnancy (gestational sac, embryo or fertilized egg) has grown large enough, the ultrasound will be repeated to locate it. If it is confirmed that the pregnancy is ectopic, then immediate treatment will be ordered.
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