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Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus. Depending on where the egg attaches, the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy can resemble those of appendicitis. If not treated immediately, ectopic pregnancy can be fatal for the mother.

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Ectopic Pregnancy

Pregnancy begins when an egg is fertilized by a sperm cell. In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg will stay in the fallopian tube before being released into the uterus. Next, the egg will attach to the uterus and continue to grow until the time of delivery arrives.

Meanwhile, in an ectopic pregnancy or pregnancy outside the womb, the fertilized egg does not attach to the uterus.

Ectopic pregnancies often occur in the fallopian tubes. In addition, this condition can also occur in the ovaries, cervix (cervix) or abdominal cavity.

Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy usually occurs as a result of damage to the fallopian tube. This damage makes the fallopian tubes narrow or blocked so that the movement of the egg to the uterus is inhibited.

Some conditions that can cause damage to the fallopian tubes are:

  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Hormone balance disorders
  • Congenital abnormalities in the fallopian tubes
  • Formation of scar tissue due to medical procedures in the womb

Ectopic Pregnancy Risk Factors

An ectopic pregnancy can be experienced by any s3xually active woman. However, there are factors that can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, namely:

  • Getting pregnant at the age of 35 years or older
  • S3xually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia
  • Pregnant outside the previous womb
  • History of surgery, such as abortion, female sterilization, and surgery in the pelvic or abdominal area
  • IVF program
  • Use of a spiral contraceptive (IUD)
  • Smoking habit

Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms

Ectopic pregnancies tend to be asymptomatic in the early stages. Early signs of an ectopic pregnancy are similar to those of a regular pregnancy, such as nausea, breast tenderness, and stopped menstruation.

Meanwhile, in advanced stages, patients with ectopic pregnancy generally experience abdominal pain and bleeding from the vagina. These symptoms will get worse over time. Sometimes, the symptoms of abdominal pain due to an ectopic pregnancy are also almost the same as the symptoms of appendicitis.

When to go to the doctor

Immediately consult a doctor if you experience the above symptoms, especially if you know you are pregnant but are still using contraception. You are also advised to seek medical attention immediately if you experience the following complaints:

  • Severe pain in the hip, shoulder, or neck
  • Pain on one side of the lower abdomen that gets worse over time
  • Light to heavy bleeding from the vagina, with blood color that can be darker than menstrual blood
  • Dizziness or weakness

Ectopic Pregnancy Diagnosis

The doctor will first conduct a question and answer session, especially regarding the first day of the patient's last menstrual period. After that, the doctor will perform the following examinations:

  • Pregnancy test through urine using a test pack
  • Blood pregnancy test, to measure levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
  • Transvaginal and abdominal ultrasound, to confirm the location of the ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment

It should be noted that the fetus in an ectopic pregnancy cannot develop normally. This condition can be life-threatening for pregnant women and must be treated immediately.

Depending on the progress of the pregnancy and the location of the egg implantation, doctors can treat an ectopic pregnancy with medication or surgery. Here is the explanation:

Injectable drugs

Methotrexate injection may be given to terminate an early-stage ectopic pregnancy. After giving the injection, the doctor will monitor the level of the hormone hCG in the blood every 2-3 days until the level decreases. Decreased levels of hCG indicate pregnancy is no longer progressing.

Laparoscopic surgery

An ectopic pregnancy can damage the fallopian tube and surrounding tissue. If one or both of the fallopian tubes are damaged, the doctor will perform laparoscopic surgery to remove the fallopian tubes.

However, if possible, the part of the fallopian tube can be repaired without having to be removed. This is done to increase the chances of getting pregnant later in life.

Laparotomy surgery

In patients with ectopic pregnancy who experience heavy bleeding, the doctor will perform emergency measures in the form of laparotomy. This surgery is performed by making a large incision in the abdomen as a way to remove the fetus and repair a ruptured fallopian tube.

After treatment, the doctor will advise the patient to give a gap of 3 months before planning the next pregnancy. The goal is for the uterus to recover completely and reduce the risk of an ectopic pregnancy occurring again.

Mental Recovery in Parents After Ectopic Pregnancy

Although brief, pregnancy can build a strong bond between parents and their future child. Therefore, an unsuccessful pregnancy can cause a deep sense of sadness. This condition can cause mental stress for a long time.

Therefore, parents who have lost their baby due to an ectopic pregnancy can share stories with relatives, friends, or people with similar experiences. If these methods do not help, parents can consult further with a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Ectopic Pregnancy Complications

An ectopic pregnancy can cause a fallopian tube to rupture. This condition is at risk of causing complications in the form of heavy bleeding, shock, and even death.

Ectopic Pregnancy Prevention

There is no way to prevent an ectopic pregnancy. However, there are efforts that can be made to reduce the risk of pregnancy outside the womb in subsequent pregnancies, including:

  • Maintain ideal body weight
  • Avoid behaviors that increase the risk of contracting s3xually transmitted diseases
  • Undergo routine health check-ups


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