Ecoptic Pregnancy is a rare condition where the fertilized egg grows outside the uterine cavity. In most cases, the fertilized egg gets implanted in the fallopian tubes but there have been cases where the implantation has occurred in the cervix, ovaries and in the abdomen.
In a normal pregnancy, once the egg is fertilized, it will enter the uterus, where it will start growing. But in ecoptic pregnancies, where the egg is implanted in the fallopian tube, the egg attaches itself to the tube and starts burrowing the tubal lining. The fallopian tube is not built for growing eggs hence these pregnancies most often results in internal bleeding and miscarriage. This type of pregnancy is not only rare but is also very dangerous for the mother. If the ecoptic pregnancy is not detected in the beginning, it can prove to be very dangerous for the mother.
Ecoptic pregnancies will start off as normal pregnancies. You will have all the symptoms that any normal pregnant woman would have. You will experience missed periods, nausea, breast tenderness, fatigue, food cravings and lightheadedness. The first sign of trouble will be pain in the vagina or bleeding or sometimes both. Some women will also experience a sharp pain in the pelvis or abdomen. Vaginal spotting, dizziness, cramps, pain while urinating or during bowel movements are also some early signs of ecoptic pregnancy that you can watch out for.
Various factors are at play in an ecoptic pregnancy. This type of pregnancy can be caused due to a pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, usage of intrauterine device, exposure to DES, tubal surgery, intrauterine surgery also know as D & C, previous ectopic pregnancy, smoking and tubal ligation. These are basically risk factors that could trigger an ecoptic pregnancy. However there have been cases where ecoptic pregnancy has occurred in women who have not been exposed to any of these risk factors.
Early diagnosis and treatment is essential in an ecoptic pregnancy. If the fertilized egg were just a few weeks old, then the doctors would opt for an abortion by administering methotrexate. Methotrexate terminates the developing embryo and the body absorbs the tissue or it will pass during the menstrual period.
If the ecoptic pregnancy is not detected early and the hemorrhage has already occurred then a surgery would be required. Most often surgery would be performed through laparoscopy where the surgeon would remove the embryo from the fallopian tubes.
The question of future fertility after an ecoptic pregnancy largely depends on various factors such as the age of the mother, previous infertility problems and the treatment that they underwent when their ecoptic pregnancy was terminated. Women who underwent intrauterine treatment stand a better chance than those who underwent a surgery.
Surprisingly not all ecoptic pregnancies have ended in abortion or miscarriage. There have three successful births in 2008 from ecoptic pregnancies where both the mother and the baby have survived. One women gave birth to triplets, where one was stuck outside the uterus and the other two were inside the uterus. Surprisingly, she carried all the babies to term and the babies and the mother survived without any complications.