What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

The female body is beautiful and extremely complex. Pregnancy can be very tricky and come with many complications. There are also rare and complicated pregnancies every woman should be aware of. Although many women have heard of an ectopic pregnancy, not many of them understand what it is exactly. It’s important for every woman to know and understand what it is, how common it is, and what it does to the body:

What Is It?

Common pregnancies carry the fetus in the uterus. When a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches itself to a place other than inside the uterus. Most of the time an ectopic pregnancy will involve a fertilized egg found in the fallopian tubes. Since the fallopian tubes are not designed to carry out a pregnancy, it can not develop properly and must be removed as soon as possible.

What Causes This?

A fertilized egg attaching to anywhere but a uterus sounds bizarre, which is why many women want to understand why this happens and what causes it. There are many causes that can lead to ectopic pregnancy. An infection or inflammation in the fallopian tube can cause it to become partially or entirely blocked, leading to an ectopic pregnancy. Other causes include scar tissue from a previous infection or a surgical procedure on the tubes or pelvic area and abnormal growths or a birth defect can result in an abnormality in the tube’s shape.

What are the Symptoms?

There are some symptoms an ectopic pregnancy shares with a normal uterine pregnancy, such as nausea and breast soreness. Symptoms that differ from a uterine pregnancy are sharp waves of pain in the abdomen, pelvis, shoulder, or neck and light to heavy vaginal spotting or bleeding. Other symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include dizziness or fainting and rectal pressure. If a woman experiences any or all of these symptoms, they must seek medical attention immediately.

What are the Risks?

There are certain factors that can put a woman at risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. If a woman is between the ages of 35-44 while trying to conceive, her risk is much greater. If a woman has had an ectopic pregnancy before, several abortions, or is a smoker, she is also at great risk. Women with Endometriosis or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) have a greater potential of having an ectopic pregnancy as well.

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