The word “ectopic” comes from the Greek word “ektopos,” meaning “out of place.”
Unlike a normal pregnancy, which occurs when a fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining, an ectopic pregnancy implants itself outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube (tubal pregnancy).
This type of pregnancy is non-viable and will not be able to proceed normally. As the pregnancy grows, it can become life-threatening to a pregnant woman.
Read this article to learn more about how ectopic pregnancies are diagnosed, what symptoms to look out for if you suspect you have this condition, and what treatment options are available.
Signs of an Ectopic Pregnancy
It’s difficult to tell immediately if your pregnancy is ectopic because you’ll experience usual pregnancy symptoms. However, there are symptoms you should monitor, such as:
- Light vaginal bleeding
- Mild abdominal cramping
- Missed period
- Tender breasts
Some more telling signs that seem to be indicative of an ectopic pregnancy include sharp abdominal pain, dizziness, or pelvic pain. An ultrasound can give you the location of the pregnancy, so this scan is essential if you believe you may have an ectopic pregnancy.
Treatment Options for an Ectopic Pregnancy
Once an ectopic pregnancy has been diagnosed, there are three different treatment options:
- Laparoscopic procedures
- Abdominal surgeries
A doctor will inject the medication methotrexate to dissolve the pregnancy cells. The doctor will then test for hCG levels, a hormone that indicates pregnancy. The test results will help them determine how well the medication is working.
A doctor may perform either abdominal or laparoscopic surgery.
In laparoscopic surgery, a small incision is made on your abdomen, and surgical tools and laparoscopy are used to find the tubal area and remove the ectopic pregnancy.
If the tube has not ruptured, it will be left alone, but a physician will likely remove a ruptured tube along with the ectopic pregnancy.
At Elevier Women’s Center, we offer limited obstetric ultrasounds and other no-cost pregnancy services.
An ultrasound can alert you of an ectopic pregnancy, and inform you of the pregnancy’s age and viability.
If it is a miscarriage, you might require another type of treatment.
If you know the age of the pregnancy and are considering an abortion, this will also inform you of what procedural options are available to you.
In addition to our ultrasounds, we offer no-cost consultations where you can ask questions and learn about local resources in a confidential, pressure-free environment.
Schedule your appointment today!