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Telltale Signs of an Ectopic Pregnancy

Telltale Signs of an Ectopic Pregnancy

About 2% of pregnancies are ectopic, meaning the fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus. 

Normally, when the sperm and egg meet, the resulting zygote attaches inside the uterus, where it grows and develops into a baby. In an ectopic pregnancy, the zygote implants somewhere else, like the fallopian tube. This is sometimes called a tubal pregnancy. 

Rarely, ectopic pregnancy can occur in an ovary, or the abdomen or cervix. A baby can’t survive in these areas; there is neither the space nor nourishment available. 

When untreated, ectopic pregnancies can lead to serious complications, such as internal bleeding and even the mother’s death. 

The experts on the OB/GYN team at Capital Women’s Care in Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland, say you should watch for the following symptoms. If you notice any of them, contact one of our offices right away to be diagnosed and treated, before you experience dire consequences.

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy

At first, you wouldn’t know your pregnancy is ectopic. You miss a period, have tenderness in the breasts, feel fatigued, and may experience nausea. 

As the ectopic pregnancy develops, however, you may notice:

Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy usually show up 4-12 weeks into pregnancy.

Don’t panic if you notice mild pelvic pain or spotting. These can be quite normal in the early stages of any pregnancy. But it’s a good idea to contact our office if you have any concerns. 

Risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy

Any woman can experience an ectopic pregnancy. But you’re at greater risk if you have endometriosis, a condition in which uterine lining tissue grows outside the uterus. The tissue can form in the fallopian tube and block the zygote’s path to the uterus. 

If you have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), you’re also at risk. PID can cause inflammation of the fallopian tubes.

Other risk factors include 

If you’ve experienced an ectopic pregnancy in the past, you’re at greater risk of having another one. 

Treatment for an ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is inviable, meaning the baby cannot survive. We must remove the ectopic tissue and terminate the pregnancy. 

If it’s detected early, we provide an injection of methotrexate, which stops the egg from developing into an embryo and ends the pregnancy. Your body naturally absorbs the tissue.

In ectopic pregnancies found later, or when one causes the rupture of an organ, surgery is required. We use minimally invasive techniques to remove the pregnancy and any damaged tissue.

Turn to the specialists at Capital Women’s Care to compassionately support you in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. Contact one of the locations right away if you’re experiencing worrisome symptoms.

Call or use this website to request your appointment so we can answer all of your questions.

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