An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus. Find out more about ectopic pregnancy symptoms and treatments.
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy outside the uterus. The most common site is within a fallopian tube. More rarely, it is also found within the ovary or in the cervix. Read on to understand more about ectopic pregnancy signs and symptoms.
Related: Pregnancy Complications
Out of every 1,000 pregnancies, five to seven are ectopic pregnancies. It is more common in women who have had an ectopic pregnancy before, as well as in women who have a history of pelvic infection.
Related: When to Sound the Alarm on Your Pregnancy
If a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, she may:
If the ectopic pregnancy ruptures, she may:
There is internal bleeding when the ectopic pregnancy ruptures. Your life can be at risk if the bleeding is severe.
An ectopic pregnancy is often suspected after an ultrasound fails to detect a pregnancy in the womb.
Occasionally, blood tests of your pregnancy hormone levels and additional ultrasound scans are required to help make a diagnosis. Ultimately, a diagnosis can only be confirmed via an operation.
Surgery may be required for an ectopic pregnancy. Known as laparoscopy, it is an operation whereby a fine telescope is inserted near the navel into your abdomen. This allows your doctor to see the pelvic organs and the site of the ectopic pregnancy.
Sometimes, when massive bleeding occurs, a laparotomy may be required. This involves a larger incision for the operation. This procedure is performed under general anaesthesia.
Depending on the severity of the ectopic pregnancy and your fertility requirement, your doctor will discuss the options of keeping or removing your fallopian tubes. Under certain circumstances, additional blood tests and injections or even another surgery is required.
If the ectopic pregnancy is treated without removing the fallopian tubes, you still have a reasonable chance to conceive successfully in the future. Removal of one fallopian tube does not affect your chances of getting pregnant if the other fallopian tube is in good condition.
You are at a slightly higher risk of another ectopic pregnancy, so you should speak to your gynaecologist about your risks and measures of early evaluation of your next pregnancy.
We provide round the clock service at our Urgent O＆G Centre, located in basement one of KKH.
Note: It is important to note that ectopic pregnancy is sometimes difficult to diagnose in view of its myriad presentation, especially in the early stages.
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This article was last reviewed on
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
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