Worried about ectopic pregnancy? Ohmymag guides you through what you need to know.
What Is Ectopic Pregnancy?
1. What is ectopic pregnancy: An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.
2. HCG level in ectopic pregnancy: HCG, also known as beta-hCG, is what is commonly known as the pregnancy hormone. In the case of a normal pregnancy, hCGs double every 48 hours from implantation, that is, from the time of implantation of the egg, about eight days after the due date of your period. In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the rate of hCG stagnates: it is one of the most significant symptoms of ectopic pregnancy.
3. Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy: An ectopic pregnancy does not always cause symptoms and sometimes may only be detected at a routine scan. As mentioned above, stagnation of pregnancy hormone levels is one of the first signs of ectopic pregnancy. Pelvic pain and bleeding may also occur.
Warning: an ectopic pregnancy is a gynecological emergency. Bleeding is the first sign of internal bleeding. Always tell your doctor about your pregnancy, even if it is very early. Only a gynecological examination and an ultrasound can determine the embryonic development and the location of implantation. These elements are crucial to define how the ectopic pregnancy can be treated.
3. Treatment of an ectopic pregnancy: Ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency that requires hospitalisation. Unfortunately, it is not possible to save the pregnancy. The development of the embryo outside the womb puts the mother's life in danger.
Two treatments may be proposed, depending on the location and development of the embryo. The first treatment is to inject methotrexate, an antimetabolite, intramuscularly, to stop embryonic development. The hCG level should decrease and then completely disappear during blood tests.
If this treatment is not enough or can't be used, the only way to treat the ectopic pregnancy is through surgery to remove the fertilised egg. Sometimes removal of an ovary or a fallopian tube is necessary.
Some treatments may affect your chances of conceiving naturally in the future but most women will still be able to get pregnant. It is estimated that 60% of women who have had an ectopic pregnancy fall pregnant again within two years. Ask your gynecologist for advice and support.