Ectopic Pregnancy: How Does It Put Pregnant Women's Life at Risk?


Ectopic Pregnancy: How Does It Put Pregnant Women's Life at Risk?

The anxiety a woman has to go through during pregnancy is unfathomable. The fear of losing a child due to unforeseen medical conditions is a nightmare for every to-be mother. One can develop several medical conditions, such as gestational diabetes, urinary tract infection, ectopic pregnancy, etc. Although there are cures for many health conditions during pregnancy, conditions like ectopic pregnancy have no treatment but abortion as soon as it is diagnosed.

If you are wondering what ectopic pregnancy is all about, we have explained this condition in this article for your knowledge. Read through and be careful of this life-threatening condition.

What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

As you all know, pregnancy begins when a fertilised egg gets attached to the uterus lining, and the baby starts growing. However, a fertilised egg grows outside the uterus during an ectopic pregnancy. A type of ectopic pregnancy, tubal pregnancy, takes place in a fallopian tube that helps carry the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. There are chances that ectopic pregnancy can also happen in other parts of the body, such as the abdominal cavity, ovary and cervix (lower part of the uterus), which connects to the vagina.

With these complications, one can’t proceed with the pregnancy as the fertilised egg can’t survive. It may cause life-threatening issues due to excessive bleeding if left untreated.

Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy

Various causes of ectopic pregnancy slow down or block the egg's movement to the fallopian tube. This could happen due to the following reasons-

  • An adhesion, inflammation or scar tissue from previous pelvic surgery.
  • Damaged fallopian tubes due to a history of STI (Sexually Transmitted Disease).
  • Born with an unevenly-shaped fallopian tube.
  • Blockage in the fallopian tube

Risk Factors of Ectopic Pregnancy

A few risk factors put you at risk of ectopic pregnancy. They include-

History of Ectopic Pregnancy- If someone has had a history of ectopic pregnancy, there are chances that you can have another.

Sexually Transmitted Infections- Inflammation and infections, such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, can result in inflammation in the tubes and other organs, putting you at risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

Fertility Procedures- Women who have taken vitro fertilisation (IVF) or other fertility treatments are more likely to develop ectopic pregnancy.

Tubal Ligation- Tubal surgery is performed to repair a damaged or closed fallopian tube, which may also lead to ectopic pregnancy.

Birth Control- There are rare of getting pregnant if you use an intrauterine device (IUD). Even if you conceive with IUD, the chances are high that it is ectopic pregnancy.

Smoking- The risks of smoking are plenty. Smoking regularly before conceiving makes you more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy.

What are the Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy?

One may not witness any ectopic pregnancy symptoms initially. Women experience usual signs and symptoms such as nausea, breast tenderness or missed periods. In the case of ectopic pregnancy, even if the pregnancy test is positive, it can’t be continued as a normal pregnancy. However, some signs and symptoms are-

Early Warning of Ectopic Pregnancy

  • The initial warning symptoms are minor vaginal bleeding and pain in the pelvic area.
  • If blood leaks from the fallopian tube, you may feel pain in the shoulder or a sudden bowel movement. Your symptoms also depend on the location where the blood is collected and which nerve is being harmed.

Emergency Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy

The tube can rupture if the fertilised egg starts growing in the fallopian tube, and that’s when an emergency occurs as it leads to heavy bleeding in the abdomen. In this extreme life-threatening event, one may experience shock, fainting, and severe lightheadedness.

How is Ectopic Pregnancy Diagnosed?

The doctor administers a pelvic exam to identify areas of tenderness, pain, or mass growth in the ovary or fallopian tube. You will need ultrasound and blood tests to diagnose ectopic pregnancy.

Pregnancy Test

To rule out an ectopic pregnancy, your doctor will administer human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) blood test. Your doctor will suggest you repeat these tests routinely until ultrasound tests confirm whether it is normal or ectopic pregnancy, which takes around 5-6 weeks after conception.


To see the location and status of the pregnancy, doctor administers a transvaginal ultrasound. This test helps create pictures of ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus which confirms the result

However, in an Abdominal ultrasound, a doctor takes an ultrasound of a pregnant woman’s belly that helps evaluate internal bleeding or any other issue.

>> Also Read: How to Claim the Maternity Cover in Health Insurance?

How to Prevent Ectopic Pregnancy?

Although there is no treatment for ectopic pregnancy but only termination, it is an unpreventable condition that has no control over by anyone. You can still take preventive measures to reduce the risk by adopting healthy lifestyle habits. Healthy habits include quitting alcohol and smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and staying safe from STIs. If you experience anything alarming, see your doctor immediately for further action.

Disclaimer: The abovementioned information is for reference purposes only. Kindly consult your doctor in case of any emergency or doubt.

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