What is an ectopic pregnancy?
In normal pregnancies, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus: This is not the case with ectopic pregnancies.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. In some cases, this type of pregnancy occurs in the fallopian tubes, ovary, cervix, or abdominal cavity.
The most common type of ectopic pregnancy occurs in the fallopian tube. This type is known as a tubal pregnancy.
The fertilized egg cannot survive outside of the uterus. If the egg continues to grow here, it may cause damage to other organs and cause serious, life-threatening loss of blood.
What are common symptoms?
Many women do not notice symptoms in early stages. However, they will notice normal pregnancy symptoms such as missed period, nausea, breast tenderness.
As the fertilized egg continues to grow, signs and symptoms become evident. These include light bleeding and pain in the pelvic area, abdomen, neck, or shoulder.
Still on pain, you may notice that it occurs on one side of the abdomen.
In extreme cases, the fertilized egg may rupture especially if it had been left to grow. This is likely to lead to heavy abdominal bleeding.
Other symptoms include extreme lightheadedness and fainting
What causes it?
A tubal pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs in the fallopian tubes) occurs when a fertilized egg gets stuck in the fallopian tube. This could be because the fallopian tube is damaged or scarred from a previous medical condition, infection or surgery.
Other causes may include hormonal imbalances or an abnormally developed egg.
Who is at risk?
You are at risk of an ectopic pregnancy if:
- You are a woman over 35 years old
- Had previous ectopic pregnancy
- Have had prior fallopian, pelvic or abdominal tube surgery.
- Have certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Suffer from Pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Have Endometriosis
- Have abnormalities in the fallopian tubes
- Got pregnant while on IUD or have had a tubal ligation
When should I see a doctor?
If you suspect you may have an ectopic pregnancy, see your doctor immediately. Ectopic pregnancies can’t be diagnosed from a physical exam. Call Marie Stopes Kenya today for free on 0800 720005 or WhatsApp them on 0709819001 for comprehensive diagnosis and personalized advice on your pregnancy. You can also visit your nearest government hospital.