Once an egg is fertilized in a normal pregnancy, it travels through your fallopian tube to your uterus, where it implants. If the egg stays in the tube and starts growing there instead of your uterus, you have a tubal (or ectopic) pregnancy. When the pregnancy begins to grow, a placenta forms and hormonal changes start to take place. You will probably miss your period and begin to have other signs of a normal pregnancy, such as a positive pregnancy test, fatigue, and breast tenderness. If the pregnancy grows too big while still in your fallopian tube, the tube may rupture. If this goes unrecognized it can result in internal hemorrhaging and possible death. There are usually no clear signs of an early ectopic pregnancy.
Sometimes you might have light bleeding within two weeks after your missed period. You may have a positive pregnancy test with no real change in your uterus. Before the tube ruptures, you may have cramps, a constant dull pain or sharp stabbing pains in your abdomen. In order to properly diagnose an ectopic pregnancy, you need a medical exam, which will include your medical history. The practitioner will ask you questions about this and other pregnancies, infections, sexually transmitted infections, etc. A pelvic exam will be done to check your uterus and your tubes. Serial blood tests will measure the level of pregnancy hormones in your blood.
ECTOPIC PREGNANCY IS A LIFE-THREATENING CONDITION. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK US.
For patients with ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies developing outside the uterus, in the fallopian tubes or on the ovaries), we offer a range of services depending on the patient’s health and the length of their pregnancy. Early ectopic pregnancies can be treated non-surgically by injecting a medication that prevents further growth of the pregnancy. After the injection, the tissue will gradually be reabsorbed by your body. Later ectopic pregnancies can be managed surgically through a minimally invasive, laparoscopic procedure.
A sonogram will be used to visualize the uterus and fallopian tubes. If you have an ectopic pregnancy, you may need to have the pregnancy removed surgically which takes place in a hospital. Parkmed NYC’s physicians maintain privileges at NYU Langone Medical Center and Mount Sinai Hospital. If it is detected early enough, the doctor may be able to remove the pregnancy through a laparoscope, a thin rod used to operate on internal organs without large incision. There is no way to prevent ectopic pregnancy. If you have had gonorrhea, chlamydia, PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) or if you use an IUD, an ectopic pregnancy is more likely. Early detection and treatment of these conditions will help lower your risk.
Having an annual health care visit is a great opportunity to take charge of your health. A well/annual visit provides an excellent opportunity to discuss methods of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and minimizing health risks. Physicians have an opportunity to contribute to your overall health and well-being by providing recommended preventive care and counseling or refer for recommended services. Routine health care visits can help find problems early or prevent health problems before they occur. If problems are found early, they may be easier to treat and less likely to pose serious risks to your health. These assessments should include screening, evaluation/counseling, and immunizations based on age and risk factors.
A key component of a well/annual visit for a reproductive-aged patient is the development and discussion of a reproductive life plan to ensure that medical testing and treatments provided are aligned with the patient’s current and future plans. A discussion of a reproductive life plan may include pre-pregnancy counseling, infertility assessment, or the full range of contraceptive options. Routine screening for gynecological diseases or conditions are equally as important, and periodic well/annual visits are appropriate and necessary for perimenopausal and postmenopausal patients as well.