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Ectopic Pregnancy – Frequently Asked Questions

Ectopic Pregnancy – Frequently Asked Questions

You may have heard of a condition called an ectopic pregnancy. There has been a lot of confusion regarding this type of pregnancy, especially regarding the new abortion laws. So, we’re breaking down several of the frequently asked questions about ectopic pregnancy and what you need to know.

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

Also known as a tubal pregnancy, this occurs when the fertilized egg implants itself somewhere other than the uterus. This implementation usually happens in the fallopian tubes, which causes the fertilized egg not to develop normally.

An ectopic pregnancy can be dangerous if it goes undetected. The embryo can continue to grow, causing the fallopian tube to burst. This puts the mother’s life at risk.

Is treatment for this type of pregnancy considered an abortion? No, not at all.

Intervention is necessary with this diagnosis, and it is wise to seek a second opinion. In many cases, the baby has already passed, but it not will not survive removal from the fallopian tube.  Medical intervention in the case of an ectopic pregnancy is not considered an abortion.  Therefore, the laws restricting abortions do not apply to ectopic pregnancies. If you or someone you know is facing this emergency, help is available. It does not matter where you live.  Treatment is legal and available in every state.

What are the symptoms of a pregnancy diagnosed as ectopic?

At first, an ectopic pregnancy can cause the same symptoms as a regular pregnancy. These include a missed period, nausea, mood swings, and a positive pregnancy test. There most likely won’t be any external signs of ectopic pregnancy until the embryo starts to grow.

That’s why an early-detection ultrasound is so important. With an ultrasound, a medical professional can see where the embryo is implanted to rule out ectopic pregnancy concerns.  Pelvic pain and light vaginal bleeding can likely be the first noticeable indicators of an ectopic pregnancy.

There are also more serious symptoms that may signal that the fallopian tube is beginning to rupture. Call your doctor or 911, or go to the emergency room right away if you experience any  of the following symptoms often relating to ectopic pregnancy:

  • vaginal bleeding
  • one-sided cramping with or without severe pelvic pain
  • extreme dizziness or light-headedness, dizzy or fainting
  • gush/flow of watery fluid from the vagina
  • blurred vision/spots before the eyes
  • marked swelling in upper or lower extremities or face
  • difficulty breathing
  • severe headache
  • temperature over 100.4 F
  • severe vomiting
  • chest pain or shoulder pain
  • painful urination

Learn more about typical pregnancy symptoms by reading our Symptoms Page.

How is an ectopic pregnancy diagnosed?

The best way to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy is by confirming the location of the pregnancy through an ultrasound. A limited obstetrical ultrasound will use sound waves to see the placement of the pregnancy. This will help you know exactly where the pregnancy is located if  it is viable, and it will help you figure out how far along you are.

Learn more about how you can obtain a free ultrasound at Bridges Pregnancy Clinic and Car Center by going to our Ultrasounds Page.

What about sexually transmitted diseases or infections? How do they correlate with ectopic pregnancies?

Studies suggest that certain sexually transmitted diseases or infections, such as Chlamydia,  could increase the chance of ectopic pregnancy due to the production of a particular protein that is caused by the STD or STI. See the sources linked below for more information.

Does ectopic pregnancy affect future pregnancies?

Research suggests that many women who experience an ectopic pregnancy go on to have healthy pregnancies in the future. Even if a fallopian tube is injured or removed due to an ectopic pregnancy, the female body is made with two fallopian tubes, so an egg can still join with a sperm in the other tube and travel to the uterus successfully. See the sources linked below for more information.

Whether you think you may be facing an ectopic pregnancy or not, having an ultrasound to verify your pregnancy medically is vital to your health. Searching for ectopic pregnancy help online will only get you so far. If you’re looking for a local pregnancy clinic or resources here in Santa Rosa or the surrounding areas, we’re here for you. Visit us today for a free ultrasound and medical verification of pregnancy.