Ectopic pregnancies, or tubal pregnancies, occur when the embryo attaches to the fallopian tube, cervix, or even the abdomen instead of the uterus. This growth outside the uterus can quickly become dangerous for both the baby and the mother, accounting for nine percent of deaths during pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies are life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
Over 95 percent of ectopic pregnancies occur in one of the fallopian tubes. If the pregnancy isn’t terminated immediately, the fallopian tube can burst and cause deadly internal hemorrhaging. If treatment isn’t sought right away, the mother can die.
Ectopic pregnancy is a relatively common medical condition, occurring in about 1 out of every 200 pregnancies. The leading cause of ectopic pregnancy is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which is responsible for between 30 and 50 percent of all cases.
After conception has occurred, it’s important to look out for certain signs, especially if there is a history of PID, fibroids or cysts in the reproductive system, fallopian tube surgery, endometriosis, or the use of progestin-only oral contraceptives. Some early signs to watch out for may include low abdominal or pelvic pain that is only felt on one side of the body.
There may also be pain in the neck and shoulder from internal bleeding. A late or missed menstruation cycle is a common sign of pregnancy but it is also a sign of Ectopic pregnancy. Women may have symptoms well before she has missed her period or notices she has missed it. Other common signs and symptoms in early pregnancy may include:
If a woman experiences vaginal bleeding and passing of tissues while knowing she is pregnant or having pregnancy symptoms, this could be a sign of an Ectopic pregnancy. Besides the pain that is common in about 90 percent of the women with this type of pregnancy, vaginal bleeding is the next most common warning sign. If possible, she should try to collect any tissues that have passed for further testing by a physician.
The most dangerous symptoms of this condition occur when the embryo is large enough to cause a rupture, leading to severe internal bleeding. Women may experience sharp, persistent pain in the shoulder area due to hemorrhaged blood aggravating the diaphragm.
If you experience extreme weakness or dizziness due to blood loss, it is imperative to get emergency assistance immediately. Internal bleeding can be fatal if not treated right away, so do not wait for later signs before seeking help.