An Out Of Place Embryo
An ectopic pregnancy happens when the embryo implants outside the uterus and a newly created embryo travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. The uterus is where the embryo attaches and grows into a healthy fetus. Sometimes, implantation can happen near the cervix, ovary, fallopian tubes, or nearby peritoneal cavity. Ectopic pregnancies are often tubal pregnancies since most occur in the fallopian tubes. About 2% of every 1,000 reported pregnancies are ectopic.
Symptoms and Dangers of Ectopic Pregnancies
Ectopic pregnancies show positive on a pregnancy test but have unrelated symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal pain on one side, dizziness, and fatigue. Some women experience shoulder pain and difficulties using the bathroom. These symptoms should signify a doctor’s visit immediately. If left untreated, the growing embryo can rupture the fallopian tube or damage other parts of the body. Internal bleeding can happen, which can be life-threatening.
Can I get pregnant again?
Doctors will treat ectopic pregnancies with medication or surgery, depending on the stage of the issue. The process can be painful, with some women needing life-saving intervention. The stress would make couples avoid pregnancy out of sadness or fear of another tubal pregnancy. Yet, a large subset still hopes to get pregnant again. Getting pregnant again naturally is possible for most women, but there are some risks.
What are the risks?
Statistics show that 65% of women conceive within 12-18 months, but this is not without risk. For starters, women with ectopic pregnancies are more likely to have a second ectopic pregnancy, and the chances are just slightly higher compared to someone who’s never had one before. If resolved with surgery, scarring on the fallopian tubes can affect fertility. Successful pregnancies are high-risk, so constant monitoring will be required.
Consider waiting a bit
Most reproductive specialists will advise waiting for at least 2-3 menstrual cycles before trying to conceive again. The timeframe gives the body and mind time to heal. Sometimes, medication like methotrexate helps to end the tubal pregnancy. The importance of pausing conception for at least 3 months after treatment helps to ensure estrogen levels return to normal. During this time, establish a healthy lifestyle. Adopt moderate exercise, a healthy diet, and supplementation, particularly folic acid, which can be lost during the process.
ART may help
If conceiving fails for at least 12 months after being safe, see a reproductive specialist. The doctor can complete further tests to check the patient’s reproductive health. A helpful exam called an HSG would check if the fallopian tubes are blocked due to scarring. If there is a concern, the doctor can suggest Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). Techniques like IUI and IVF can help with a successful pregnancy.
Pregnancy is possible
Ectopic pregnancies occur in about 2% of women. The condition is severe and can impact future fertility. Still, most women do have successful pregnancies at least one year later. Pregnancy is possible by waiting for the proper timeframe to try again and with the right self-care. Be aware of the risks. If pregnancy fails, a doctor can provide treatment options, including ART.