E is for Ectopic Pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than inside the uterus. Almost all ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube and are thus sometimes called tubal pregnancies. The fallopian tubes are not designed to hold a growing embryo; thus, the fertilized egg in a tubal pregnancy cannot develop properly and must be treated. An ectopic pregnancy happens in 1 out of 50 pregnancies.
What causes an ectopic pregnancy?
Ectopic pregnancies are caused by one or more of the following:
-An infection or inflammation of the fallopian tube can cause it to become partially or entirely blocked.
-Scar tissue from a previous infection or a surgical procedure on the tube may also impede the egg’s movement.
-Previous surgery in the pelvic area or on the tubes can cause adhesions.
-Abnormal growths or a birth defect can result in an abnormality in the tube’s shape.
Who is at risk for having an ectopic pregnancy?
-Maternal age of 35-44 years
-Previous ectopic pregnancy
-Previous pelvic or abdominal surgery
-Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
-Several induced abortions
-Conceiving after having a tubal ligation or while an IUD is in place
-Undergoing fertility treatments or are using fertility medications