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Ectopic Pregnancy

Learn more about ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is occurs where it should not.  The most common location is within the fallopian tube. However, such pregnancies have been reported on the ovary, on the bowel and even on the aorta.  Unfortunately, this type of pregnancy cannot move to the correct location (the uterus). Thus, a doctor must treat it appropriately to avoid potentially serious harm to the patient.

Diagnosis and treatment

Sometimes, ectopic pregnancies can be diagnosed by ultrasound.  However, the diagnosis may not be definitive. There may be enough concern based on ultrasound, bloodwork, and patient symptoms that a doctor will still treat the patient.

If we catch such a pregnancy early, we can prescribe medication (i.e. methotrexate) to resolve the pregnancy.  A nurse gives methotrexate as an intramuscular injection.  One dose is frequently enough. However, sometimes a second dose may necessary.

We will monitor the bloodwork to make sure that the pregnancy received appropriate treatment.  The earlier we discover the pregnancy, the greater the likelihood of success using medical treatment.

If doctor catch the pregnancy later or if the methotrexate did not worked, we can perform a surgery to remove the pregnancy from the fallopian tube.  Sometimes, we may need to remove the fallopian tube with the pregnancy. Other times, the ectopic may resolve itself, leaving the fallopian tube in place.

The risk of ectopic pregnancy

The risk of a future ectopic pregnancy generally increases in someone who has already experienced an ectopic pregnancy.  Your provider can give you a better estimate of your risk.  In the worst case scenario, ectopic pregnancy can cause severe blood loss and even death.  However, because of the early pregnancy monitoring which is available these days – and with the advancement of medicine and surgery – this is a rare outcome in this day and age. Contact us to learn more.

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