What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that implants outside of the uterus – most commonly in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy is rare (about 1 in 50) but a serious condition in which the pregnancy cannot be sustained – meaning there is no chance of survival for the baby – and the life of the mother is at risk if not treated.  

What are the Risk Factors of Ectopic Pregnancy? 

A few risk factors of Ectopic Pregnancy include:  

  • A previous ectopic pregnancy in your reproductive history
  • Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea or chlamydia. At Care Net of Puget Sound, we offer free STD/STI testing for both gonorrhea and chlamydia. Click here to request your no-cost appointment.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)  
  • History of corrective surgery on the fallopian tubes
  • Use of an intrauterine device (IUD) as birth control
  • Smoking

What are the Common Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy?

  • Severe lower stomach pain, especially on one side 
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding 
  • Shoulder pain 
  • Feeling weak, dizzy, or fainting 

What Should I do if I Suspect I have an Ectopic Pregnancy? 

If you are experiencing severe pain or bleeding, you need to go to the nearest emergency room immediately. If you have any other symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, reach out to your doctor as soon as possible. An ultrasound is the only way to determine an ectopic pregnancy.  

At Care Net of Puget Sound, we offer viability ultrasounds free of charge. Our medical team will help identify if your pregnancy is in the uterus. If your pregnancy is not in the uterus, we offer referrals so you can know for sure if you have an ectopic pregnancy and get proper treatment.  

Schedule your free viability ultrasound here.  

How is an Ectopic Pregnancy Treated? 

According to Mayo Clinic when a fertilized egg begins developing outside the uterus, it can’t develop normally and prevents a life-threatening risk to the mother.  

To protect the woman’s life, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the ectopic pregnancy will most likely be treated with an injection of methotrexate, surgical removal of the pregnancy tissue, surgical removal of the tube or occasionally, close monitoring without treatment if there are signs that the ectopic pregnancy may be miscarrying.  

Is Treatment of an Ectopic Pregnancy the Same Thing as Abortion?  

Medically speaking, treatments for ectopic pregnancy are not the same procedures used for induced abortions. Most abortions are done by taking something called “the abortion pill” or by a surgical procedure. Both are completely different than the treatment used for an ectopic pregnancy.  

The real difference between ectopic pregnancy treatment and abortion comes down to intent.  

In an abortion, the intent is to end the life of the embryo or fetus. 

In ectopic pregnancy treatment, the intent is to protect the life of the woman. The demise of the fetus is anticipated, but not intended; it is necessary to save the life of the mother, but not the desired outcome. Therefore, ectopic pregnancy treatment is not the same as an abortion. 

Ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition that carries with it enormous risk to the mother and unavoidable loss of the baby. If you are in significant pain or bleeding, please get to the nearest emergency room immediately. If you suspect you might be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy but are not bleeding or in pain, please seek help as soon as possible.  

If you just had a positive pregnancy test but have not yet had an ultrasound, contact us for your free viability ultrasound to ensure your pregnancy is in the uterus. All our services are at no cost to you and we do not bill insurance.  

Schedule your appointment today. 

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