Ectopic pregnancies occur when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. This usually occurs in the fallopian tube and is commonly referred to as a tubal pregnancy. During a normal pregnancy, fertilization occurs in the tubes and the egg is then moved to the uterus by hairs on the walls of the fallopian tubes. If the tube is blocked or injured in some way, the egg may become stuck and begin to develop inside of the tube. The fetus cannot correctly grow outside of the uterus. In addition, the condition is dangerous to the health of the mother. For this reason, ectopic pregnancies are generally terminated. Though the occurrences are rare, these pregnancies are becoming more common, partly due to complications with various forms of birth control.
According to the Mayo Clinic, initial signs of an ectopic pregnancy are no different from those of a healthy pregnancy. A woman may experience nausea and missed periods. As the pregnancy advances, the mother may reportedly feel pains in the abdomen and pelvis. Vaginal bleeding may also start to occur.
Risk factors for ectopic pregnancies include:
-Previous ectopic pregnancies – Once a woman experiences one ectopic pregnancy, the risk of repetition is higher.
-Infection of the uterus/ Inflammation of the fallopian tubes – May be caused by an untreated sexually transmitted disease
-Contraceptive complications – Pregnancies do not normally occur with IUD usage. If it does happen, it is commonly ectopic.
-Structural problems – Fallopian tubes that are unusually shaped may keep the fertilized egg from progressing to the uterus
-Fertility challenges – Fertility medications can contribute to ectopic pregnancies
The Role of the Physician
When checking for a possible ectopic pregnancy, a physician may conduct a pelvic exam as an initial method of examination, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, this is generally followed up with a vaginal ultrasound and blood tests. Once diagnosed, the doctor will take steps to remove the ectopic tissue from the mother’s body to prevent complications that may threaten her life. If the pregnancy is in its beginning stages, an injection is used to dissolve the cells and remove them from the body. If the doctor finds that the first injection did not work properly, the mother will likely receive an additional one. For pregnancies that are farther along, the condition may require a surgical procedure, where the abdomen is opened for removal of the tissue.
When ectopic pregnancies occur, the actions of the doctor are essential to the well being of the mother. If the physician fails to act correctly, the results can be life threatening. Half of all ectopic related deaths are reportedly caused by misdiagnosis of the condition. It is the top reason for deaths occurring within the first trimester of pregnancy.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to ectopic pregnancy complications, call an experienced attorney for a free consultation.
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