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Ectopic Pregnancy

What You Need to Know…

At Life’s Choices, one of our main health services that we offer to women is a free ultrasound, which can provide vital information, including verifying that the pregnancy is implanted in the uterus. When a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus it is called an ectopic pregnancy. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions that women have regarding an ectopic pregnancy. While ectopic pregnancies are quite rare, it is important to learn what they are and to be aware of their symptoms.

What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy can also be referred to as a “tubal pregnancy.” An ectopic pregnancy is one that is growing in the wrong place in your body. While a pregnancy normally grows inside the uterus, an ectopic pregnancy can be in the fallopian tubes (where the egg and sperm meet) in the ovary, cervix, or the abdominal cavity (belly).

Can an Ectopic Pregnancy Survive?

A pregnancy cannot survive outside the uterus. In order for the pregnancy to continue as normal, the fetus needs to receive nourishment while implanted in the uterus. Unfortunately, the pregnancy cannot be placed inside the uterus, so it must be removed.

Did You Know?

A pregnancy test will come back positive for an ectopic pregnancy. Even though it is not a normal or healthy pregnancy, the test will show its presence.

What are the Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy?

With a tubal pregnancy, you may not experience any bleeding. You may have:

  1. Sharp or stabbing pain on one side only that may come and go and vary in intensity. The pain may be in the pelvis, abdomen, or even the shoulder and neck due to blood from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy gathering up under the diaphragm.

  2. Vaginal bleeding, heavier or lighter than your normal period.

  3. Gastrointestinal symptoms

  4. Weakness, dizziness, or fainting

How are Ectopic Pregnancies Discovered and Treated?

Ectopic pregnancies are confirmed or ruled out by blood tests and a repeat pregnancy test, pelvic exam, and/or ultrasound.

At Life’s Choices, when we offer women who may be pregnant an ultrasound, we are scanning for many pieces of information:

  1. To confirm that the woman is indeed pregnant

  2. To determine if the pregnancy is implanted in the uterus (viable)

  3. To detect a heartbeat which also confirms viability

  4. To determine the gestational age of the pregnancy

These pieces of information will help women to determine which next steps are necessary for their health. We encourage all pregnant women to contact a physician and discuss their pregnancy plan.

If a woman is diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, medical attention is needed to maintain her health. An untreated ectopic pregnancy can become extremely dangerous for women. Medication may be used to safely treat an ectopic pregnancy. In some cases, surgical intervention may be needed.

What Do I Do if I Think I Might Have an Ectopic Pregnancy?

It is important to contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing sharp pain that lasts more than a few minutes or if you have bleeding. If you do not already have a doctor, go to the emergency department of a nearby hospital.

If you are not experiencing these symptoms, but you believe you are pregnant, please contact Life’s Choices to receive no-cost pregnancy testing and ultrasound services. We will be happy to help you get the information you need to stay healthy and informed.

At Life’s Choices, we are committed to giving you the answers you need. Only you can make the final decision concerning the outcome of your pregnancy. However, in order to do so, you need accurate information, which we are happy to give you.

American Pregnancy Association: Promoting Pregnancy Wellness c2016 Available from: http://americanpregnancy.org/

Ectopic Pregnancy: Symptoms, Causes, Risks, And Treatment c2016 Available from: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/ectopic-pregnancy/

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