What Is Ectopic Pregnancy?

pregnant woman who had ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate treatment to ensure a woman’s safety. 

 An embryo typically implants in the wall of the uterus. The uterus is designed to expand as the pregnancy develops. However, in some cases, an embryo implants outside of the uterus. This most commonly occurs in the fallopian tubes (between the ovary and the uterus.) Because the fallopian tubes are not designed to expand, the embryo’s growth can cause the tube to burst, resulting in excessive bleeding.

 An ectopic pregnancy is not a viable pregnancy. It cannot continue to grow without endangering the woman’s life. It must be diagnosed and treated. Abortion is not a treatment for ectopic pregnancy, so even if you plan to terminate your pregnancy, you will still need to rule out ectopic pregnancy before proceeding with the procedure.

 Diagnosis of Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed through ultrasound. This simple test can give your provider a glimpse into your body to determine where your pregnancy is located. It can also confirm the pregnancy is viable and reveal how far along it is. This information is vital to understanding the options for the outcome of your pregnancy.

 Cleburne Pregnancy Center offers free ultrasounds to help women prioritize their health when experiencing an unexpected pregnancy. Schedule an appointment for a free and confidential ultrasound.

 Risk Factors of Ectopic Pregnancy

While an ectopic pregnancy could occur with any pregnancy, some women are at a higher risk due to common risk factors. Risk factors for ectopic pregnancy include:

  • A previous ectopic pregnancy
  • A history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection that can cause scar tissue to form in your fallopian tubes, uterus, ovaries, and cervix
  • Surgery on your fallopian tubes (including tubal ligation) or the other organs of your pelvic area
  • A history of infertility
  • Treatment for infertility with in vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Endometriosis
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • An IUD in place at the time of conception
  • A history of smoking tobacco

 Limiting your risk factors for ectopic pregnancy is an excellent place to start prioritizing your reproductive health. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: don’t smoke, reduce your chances of STIs, and get tested regularly for STIs. Obtain free STI testing at Cleburne Pregnancy Center.

 Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy may have few or no symptoms when the pregnancy begins, but as the embryo grows, women may experience the following symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Pain in your lower abdomen, pelvis, and lower back
  • Dizziness or weakness

Symptoms that indicate emergency medical attention is needed include:

  • Fainting
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Shoulder pain
  • Rectal pressure or bowel problems

 Prioritize Your Safety

Utilize the free services available to you at Cleburne Pregnancy Clinic. Make an appointment today to put your health first!