Tubal Pregnancy - Also Known As Ectopic Pregnancy

Out Of Place

"Out of Place", that's what the word ectopic means and that's exactly what happens in a tubal pregnancy. The embryo does not make it out of the fallopian tube and into the waiting uterus, and begins to grow in the tube - hence the phrase, tubal pregnancy. The definition of an ectopic pregnancy is "a pregnancy that occurs outside a woman's uterus" and it is a potentially life threatening situation for a woman. While most of them occur in the fallopian tubes, they have been known to embed in other places in the pelvic cavity. Ectopic pregnancies are also well-known to be a complication of assisted reproduction techniques.

Feels The Same, But It's Different

Initially, when conception happens, the pregnancy signs for a tubal or ectopic pregnancy are no different than the pregnancy symptoms that accompany a normal pregnancy. However, as time goes on there are some pregnancy symptoms that are inconsistent with a normal pregnancy that show up as ectopic pregnancy symptoms. A tubal pregnancy cannot progress to the healthy growth and delivery of a baby. There is not enough room nor is the environment conducive to the natural development necessary. In many cases, as the ectopic embryo begins to grow, the tube (which is usually where it is lodged) bursts or ruptures, causing severe pain, bleeding and if not treated in time, even death. Today, with the use of ultrasound scans an ectopic pregnancy can be caught early and danger is minimized. But, the loss of a pregnancy, no matter what stage, is devastating. It is important to recognize and grieve the loss, allowing time for healing to happen.

Symptoms of a tubal pregnancy include vaginal bleeding, lower abdominal pain and cramping, dizziness, lightheadedness, or pain predominantly on one side. If a tubal pregnancy is suspected, the health care provider may do a pelvic exam to check for the location of the pain and the presence of a mass in the tube or ovary. Blood tests and ultrasound imaging confirm the diagnosis. If it is too early to identify a pregnancy on ultrasound, the doctor may wait until the pregnancy has progressed to about six weeks and do another scan to ensure the diagnosis is accurate.

Treating An Ectopic Pregnancy

Since a pregnancy cannot be sustained outside of the uterus, an ectopic pregnancy must be removed. If it is detected early enough an injection of a drug to stop cell growth is given. The drug, methotrexate, stops the growth of the embryo and dissolves the existing cells. Monitoring for levels of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) the pregnancy hormone, is necessary to ensure the levels lower. If they do not drop enough, then another injection is given. If the ectopic pregnancy does not respond to the injections, surgery is necessary. Laparscopic surgery is the preferred method, wherein the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen, either near or in the navel, and uses a thin tube equipped with a light and camera to view the area. Other instruments are introduced through the tube in order to remove the ectopic tissue and repair the damaged tube. If the tube is damaged beyond repair, it is removed at this time. If there has been a rupture or there is heavy bleeding, emergency surgery through an incision in the abdomen (laparotomy) may be necessary.

Risk Factors For Tubal Pregnancies

If a woman has had a tubal ligation (had her tubes tied) as a method of birth control, and then decides to have them opened in order to have another child, the chances of a tubal pregnancy after a tubal ligation are quite high. The statistics show that after a non-laparoscopic tubal ligation, about 12% of pregnancies are tubal, and after a tubal coagulation via laparascope, about 51% of pregnancies are ectopic. Other risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), progestin only contraceptives, including progesterone-bearing IUD's, previous tubal surgery, IVF, ovulation induction or ovarian stimulation, and a previous ectopic pregnancy.

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Hello i need some help i have been married for 10 years next month i have been pregnant once in my entire life back in feb of 2008 it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy and lost my left tube i have seen obgyn and had dye testing done to see if their was any blockage and there wasn't and my husband had been test and everything is good with him we just can't seem to get pregnant please can anyone help
8 years ago
I suffered an ectopic pregnancy on Dec 17th 2011, more shock than anything was the fact that i had even become pregnant in the first place as i had been sterelised in 1995 and had a reversal in 1997 and was told he procedure hadn't worked..My husband of 2 years now almost collapsed in the room when they announced that the test was positvie and believed i have lied to him for the last 5 years about being about getting pregnant.. my head is still in bits and i have been give no real reason for this happening only said (these things happen) lot of good that is. 3 weeks on and i still feel pregnant i even imagine i can feel the flutters..head doing tricks says the hubby... when i had the scan the dr said there was a sac in my womb and a mass on my right tube so needed to do blood test the results came back over 5000 whatever that means and i was in theatre within half an hour the removed my right tube which had started to rupture..apparently i was very lucky.. i have been told to do a pregnancy test in the morning Jan 6th 2012 my 41st birthday too (old age not a good factor either) and im so desperate for it to say positive i have had unprotected sex in the last week as im convinced that if i dont do it now my chance of having a baby will have gone..desperate sad and very confused is the way im feeling at the moment.. one more thing just before i was taken into theatre i was asked to sign a form saying something about being able to collect the fetus(our baby) up to 4 weeks after removal if i wanted to have a funeral anyone know any more about this..
12 years ago