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Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy - What it is

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy outside the uterus. The most common site is within a fallopian tube. In rare occasions, it can happen in the ovary or the cervix.



How common is it?

Out of every 1,000 pregnancies, five to seven are ectopic pregnancies. It is more common in women who have had an ectopic pregnancy before or women with a history of pelvic infection.

Ectopic Pregnancy - Symptoms

What are the symptoms?

If you have an ectopic pregnancy, you may experience the following:
  • Missed period
  • Pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness or nausea
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding, known as spotting
  • Lower abdominal or pelvic pain on one or both sides that gets worse over time

Ectopic Pregnancy - How to prevent?

Ectopic Pregnancy - Causes and Risk Factors

If the ectopic pregnancy ruptures, you may:
  • Feel severe pain in your lower abdomen
  • Develop shoulder pain triggered by internal bleeding
  • Feel dizzy and notice a whirling sensation
  • Faint
What is the danger of an ectopic pregnancy?

There is internal bleeding when the ectopic pregnancy ruptures. Your life can be at risk if the bleeding is severe.

Ectopic Pregnancy - Diagnosis

Diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is often suspected after an ultrasound fails to detect a pregnancy in the womb.

Occasionally, blood tests of your pregnancy hormone levels and additional ultrasound scans are required to help make a diagnosis. Ultimately, a diagnosis can only be confirmed via an operation.

Ectopic Pregnancy - Treatments

Treatment

Surgery may be required for an ectopic pregnancy. Known as laparascopy, it is an operation whereby a fine telescope is inserted near the navel, into your abdomen. This allows your doctor to see the pelvic organs and the site of the ectopic pregnancy.

Sometimes, when massive bleeding occurs, a laparotomy may be required. This involves a larger incision for the operation. This procedure is performed under general anaesthesia.

Depending on the severity of the ectopic pregnancy and your fertility requirement, your doctor will discuss the options of keeping or removing your fallopian tubes. Under certain circumstances, additional blood tests and injections or even another surgery is required.

Ectopic Pregnancy - Preparing for surgery

Ectopic Pregnancy - Post-surgery care

Ectopic Pregnancy - Other Information

Conceiving after an ectopic pregnancy

If the ectopic pregnancy is treated without removing the fallopian tubes, you still have a reasonable chance to conceive successfully in the future. Removal of one fallopian tube does not affect your chances of getting pregnant if the other fallopian tube is in good condition.

You are at a slightly higher risk of another ectopic pregnancy, so you should speak to your gynaecologist about your risks and measures of early evaluation of your next pregnancy.

Where should I go for treatment?

We provide round the clock service at our Urgent O&G Centre, located at basement one of KKH.

Note: It is important to note that ectopic pregnancy is sometimes difficult to diagnose in view of its myriad presentation especially in the early stages.
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