Managing an Ectopic Pregnancy
When an OBGYN diagnoses a pregnancy complication like an ectopic pregnancy, it can be an incredibly stressful situation for an expectant mother. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg develops outside the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tubes. If an ectopic pregnancy is left untreated, it can critically impact the health of the mother and lead to fallopian tube damage, infertility, or death.
How Common Are Ectopic Pregnancies?
Jamie Hernandez, MD, an OBGYN at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group Caritas Women’s Care in Sugar Land, treats a range of gynecologic health concerns including ectopic pregnancies. Though up to 1 in 50 pregnancies are ectopic,
“More than 50 percent of my patients do not have any risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy,” said Dr. Hernandez.
The risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy include:
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Previous ectopic pregnancy
Pelvic or abdominal surgery
Prior tubal surgery
Assisted reproductive technology
Trying to Get Pregnant While at Risk for an Ectopic Pregnancy
If you’re at risk and trying to get pregnant, charting your ovulation can be a helpful tool for your OBGYN to detect early signs of an ectopic pregnancy. Knowing the early signs of pregnancy and important prenatal screenings will help you and your doctor monitor your health.
What Are the Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy?
Possible symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include:
Feeling dizzy or faint
If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical care right away.
Management Strategies for an Ectopic Pregnancy
OBGYNs can use expectant, medical, or surgical management for an ectopic pregnancy. The three surgical options include a salpingectomy (fallopian tube removal), salpingostomy (fallopian tube incision), or hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).
Cases of ectopic pregnancy are evaluated on an individual basis. Talk with your OBGYN to figure out which treatment option is right for you. Schedule an appointment with Caritas Women’s Care, an OBGYN group that honors the sanctity of human life.