Are you at Risk for an Ectopic Pregnancy?

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Although the risk of pregnancy complication is higher in c-sections, it is estimated that about 25% of all pregnant women will have at least one complication of pregnancy, resulting from different situations, including infections, chronic disease or fetal problems.

Bleeding is one of the most common complications during pregnancy, occurring during the first trimester in some expectant mothers, or in the last trimester for others. Bleeding could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy that your obstetrician will have to discover.

Ectopic Pregnancy occurs in a fallopian tube after a fertilized egg attaches itself to a different place rather than inside your uterus, where the egg cannot develop normally. This complication is also called “tubal pregnancy” and is more common in women after 35 years of age.

Although an ectopic pregnancy often occurs in 1 out of 60 pregnant women, those women who have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) are more at risk of developing a pregnancy in the fallopian tubes.

Women who had an abdominal or pelvic surgery, induced abortions, or had a previous ectopic pregnancy are also at risk, and it may also occur if a woman get pregnant having an IUD in place, after having a tubal ligation.

However, 95% of all ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes, but 1.5% are abdominal, 0.5% are ovarian, and only 0.03% are cervical pregnancies. Between 40 to 50 women die in the United States as a result of complications due to a ectopic pregnancy.

Leading causes contributing to developing this potential pregnancy complication include previous surgeries in the fallopian tubes pelvic area, causing adhesions, abnormality in the tube’s shape caused by birth defect or abnormal growth, sometimes associated to use or abuse of hormones, as well as infection, inflammation or scar tissue in the fallopian tubes, blocking them.

In the 1940s, ectopic pregnancies occurred in 1 out of 30,000 pregnancies. Today, the rate has increased to 1 out of 4,000 pregnancies, the reason why it is believed that this complication also occurs due to modern methods of ovarian stimulation and use of fertility drugs.

If you are suffering from dizziness, weakness, fainting, gastrointestinal symptoms, sharp pain in the abdomen, pelvis, shoulder and neck, or if you are having vaginal bleeding, call your doctor immediately.

Ectopic pregnancy is only diagnosed after a pelvic exam or ultrasound study to determine if the fetus is developing in another place other than your uterus. However, prompt attention might help to prevent further complications and beginning treatment.

You can still have a successful labor and delivery after being diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, even though your chances are lower in comparison to normal pregnancies, but increasing up to 60% in your next pregnancy.

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