Have you had an ectopic pregnancy?

Have you had an ectopic pregnancy?

Around 1 in every 200 pregnancies ends in an ectopic pregnancy, which is when the embryo develops outside the uterine cavity. In almost all cases, it implants in one of the fallopian tubes. Initially, a woman will feel pregnant and a pregnancy test will be positive, although in many instances she may not even realize she is pregnant by the time the ectopic pregnancy causes problems.

ectopic pregnancy risk increases: if you have had previous abdominal surgery, particularly to the ovaries or fallopian tubes if you have undergone IVF treatment if you are aged between 35 and 44 if you have previously had a pelvic infection such as chlamydia if you have had a previous ectopic pregnancy (one study found the likelihood increased by 50 to 80 per cent)

Symptoms include lower abdominal pain, which usually becomes severe and may be accompanied soon after by vaginal bleeding. Ectopic pregnancy can cause tubal damage if the fertilized egg stretches and bursts the fallopian tube as it attempts to grow. The damage may be irreversible.

Treatment usually involves surgery, although many hospitals are able to remove the pregnancy using laparoscopy, in which a fine tube with a camera on the end is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision, rather than more invasive surgery. Further tests will then be required to see if the damaged fallopian tube is still functioning adequately.

It may be possible to treat certain early ectopic pregnancies non-surgically, by administering a methotrexate injection, which causes reabsorption of the pregnancy tissue.

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