Mar 24

What Is Ectopic Pregnancy?

Posted on March 24, 2019 — by Joseph E. Martin, M.D., FACOG

Fertility consultationAccording to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infertility affects 6.7 percent of married women aged 15 to 44.

There are numerous causes of infertility that can make conceiving a child naturally more difficult. In addition to decreasing the chances of becoming pregnant, many infertility problems make it harder to maintain a pregnancy once a woman conceives. For instance, endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, and pelvic inflammatory disease all impact fertility and increase the risk of pregnancy complications, such as an ectopic pregnancy.

Though most women have heard the term ectopic pregnancy, few know exactly what it is. The doctors at the Fertility Center of San Antonio discuss ectopic pregnancy so our San Antonio patients understand the condition and the chances of conceiving and giving birth after ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is one in which an embryo implants outside of the uterus. In most cases, the embryo implants inside the fallopian tube, which is why this may also be called a tubal pregnancy.

Symptoms

Many symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, such as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue, are the same as those of a regular pregnancy. However, there are unique symptoms that may suggest an ectopic pregnancy. Potential signs of an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Sharp, stabbing pain in the abdomen or pelvis
  • Stabbing pain in the neck or shoulders
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Weakness or dizziness

Although these symptoms may be alarming, women should try not to jump to conclusions. An examination is the only way to tell for sure if a woman is experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.

Anyone who is experiencing unusual symptoms during pregnancy should discuss them with their doctor, who is likely to schedule a pelvic exam, blood test, or ultrasound.

Treatment

Unfortunately, a fertilized egg cannot survive or develop outside of the uterus, so ectopic pregnancies need to be treated. Treatment may be non-surgical or surgical, depending on how far the pregnancy has progressed.

Can I Conceive after an Ectopic Pregnancy?

Unfortunately, an ectopic pregnancy can increase the chances of another ectopic pregnancy in the future.

Fertility treatment may be a good option for women who have experienced an ectopic pregnancy. IVF is a particularly good option because it bypasses the fallopian tubes altogether. During this treatment process, eggs are fertilized outside of the body, and mature embryos are implanted directly into the uterus. Our fertility specialists are happy to discuss this treatment option with women who have experienced ectopic pregnancy in the past.

Schedule an Appointment

At the Fertility Center of San Antonio, we offer services to assist patients experiencing a wide range of fertility problems. If you would like to find out more about the treatments we offer, and which may be right for you, call (210) 692-0577 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced fertility specialists.

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