Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tips To Identify Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that implants and grows outside of the uterus. The most common site for this to occur is in the fallopian tube. However, ectopic pregnancy can also occur in the ovary, the cervix, or elsewhere within the pelvic cavity.
Actually, when you stop to think about it, it's a wonder that more pregnancies don't implant within the fallopian tube. That's because even under normal circumstances, fertilization (the union of the sperm and egg) occurs inside one of the fallopian tubes. Within a few days, as the fertilized egg continues to develop, it is supposed to move into the uterus to properly implant and grow. However, in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg never makes it to the uterus. Instead, it tries to grow within the tube. Rarely, it may attach itself to an ovary or another pelvic organ.
The two primary symptoms are vaginal bleeding and one-sided pelvic pain. These may vary in intensity depending on how far the pregnancy has progressed. Ectopic pregnancies are dangerous because they may lead to rupture of the fallopian tube, along with severe hemorrhage. In extreme cases, the intra-abdominal bleeding can become catastrophic and even fatal to the woman.
Ectopic pregnancy occurs at the rate of about one in 60 pregnancies. Certain risk factors have been found to increase the chances for ectopic pregnancy. These risk factors are:
  • History of severe pelvic infections
  • Endometriosis
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Increasing maternal age
  • History of infertility
  • Prior surgery on the fallopian tubes
  • Prior pelvic or abdominal surgery (scar tissue)
  • Previous ectopic pregnancy
If your doctor suspects that you have an ectopic pregnancy, he or she will perform certain tests. The doctor will likely perform a pelvic exam, check your blood pressure and pulse, perform an ultrasound, and draw your blood to check your pregnancy hormone levels.
The diagnosis may not be apparent right away. Sometimes it takes a few days of observation and additional testing before the diagnosis is clear. The use of sophisticated ultrasound technology and accurate hormonal monitoring has now made it possible to detect most ectopic pregnancies when they are still in the very early stages.
Early diagnosis helps to lessen your chance of tubal rupture and severe hemorrhage and will lead to a successful birth of the child without any birth defects.

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