An ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency treatment. It predominantly occurs when the embryo implants in one of the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus. Rarely, the embryo can attach to an ovary or other abdominal organs. An ectopic pregnancy is most likely to occur within the first few weeks of pregnancy and is usually discovered by the 8th week of pregnancy.
How Common Is Ectopic Pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy is estimated to occur in up to 1 out of every 50 pregnancies.
What Are the Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy?
Common symptoms include:
Light vaginal bleeding
Nausea and vomiting
Lower abdominal pain
Sharp abdominal cramps
Pain on one side of the body
Dizziness or weakness
Pain in the shoulder, neck, or rectum
If the fallopian tube ruptures, the pain and bleeding could be severe enough to cause fainting.
If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, contact your health care provider right away and go to the emergency room. Getting to the hospital immediately is important to reduce the risk of hemorrhaging (severe bleeding) and to preserve your fertility.
What Causes an Ectopic Pregnancy?
If one of the fallopian tubes is damaged, it may not allow the fertilized egg to pass to the uterus causing the egg to implant in the fallopian tube or elsewhere.
What Are the Risk Factors for Ectopic Pregnancy?
Risk factors for ectopic pregnancy include:
Use of an intrauterine device (IUD), a form of birth control, at the time of conception.
History of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Sexually-transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Congenital abnormality (problem present at birth) of the fallopian tube.
History of pelvic surgery (since scarring may block the fertilized egg from leaving the fallopian tube).
History of ectopic pregnancy.
Unsuccessful tubal ligation (surgical sterilization) or tubal ligation reversal.
Infertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
How Is an Ectopic Pregnancy Diagnosed?
Once you arrive at the hospital, a pregnancy test, a pelvic exam, and an ultrasound test may be performed to view the condition of the uterus and fallopian tubes.
If an ectopic pregnancy has been confirmed, the health care provider will decide on the best treatment based on your medical condition and your future plans for pregnancy.
If the doctor suspects that the fallopian tube has ruptured, emergency surgery is necessary to stop the bleeding. In some cases, the fallopian tube and ovary may be damaged and will have to be removed.
If the fallopian tube has not ruptured and the pregnancy has not progressed very far, laparoscopic surgery may be all that is needed to remove the embryo and repair the damage. A laparoscope is a thin, flexible instrument inserted through small incisions in the abdomen. During this surgery a tiny incision is made in the fallopian tube and the embryo is removed, preserving the integrity of the fallopian tube.
In some cases, medication may be used to stop the growth of pregnancy tissue. This treatment option may be appropriate if the tube is not ruptured and the pregnancy has not progressed very far.
After treatment for an ectopic pregnancy, you will usually have to have additional blood tests to make sure that the entire tubal pregnancy was removed. The blood tests detect the level of hCG, the hormone that is produced during pregnancy.
Can I Get Pregnant After I've had an Ectopic Pregnancy?
Yes. Most women who have an ectopic pregnancy have subsequent normal pregnancies and births. If a fallopian tube had to be removed, you can still get pregnant since the remaining fallopian tube should function normally.
Discuss the timing of your next pregnancy with your health care provider. Some health care providers recommend waiting a certain amount of time (from 3 to 6 months) before trying to conceive again.
Taking time to heal both physically and emotionally after an ectopic pregnancy is important. Above all, don't blame yourself. Counseling is available to help you cope with your loss. Pregnancy loss support groups may also be a valuable resource to you and your partner. Ask your health care provider for more information about counseling and support groups.
Can an Ectopic Pregnancy Be Prevented?
No. However, if the mother is suffering from a treatable illness at the time of conception, such as a sexually transmitted disease, being treated can improve her chances of having a successful pregnancy.
Jumat, 15 Mei 2009