Ectopic pregnancy is a fatal event, both to the mother and the child. Early detection and monitoring are the crucial actions that prevent this in the future.
In a typical scenario, the sperm meets the egg in the fallopian tube. After the egg has been fertilized, now an embryo, it travels down to the uterus where it is implanted. But this is not the case with tubal pregnancy- a type of ectopic pregnancy. Instead of going down to the uterus, the embryo implants in the fallopian tube.
A study in 2012 revealed that tubal pregnancy is the number one cause of death of women who are in their first trimester of pregnancy. Moreover, 95% of ectopic pregnancies are tubal pregnancies. Rarely does an embryo implant itself in the cervix, ovary, and abdomen.
Unlike the uterus, the fallopian tube has no blood vessel lining. Aside from that, It cannot support the growth of the embryo since it is too narrow. As the cell divides, the tubes block, and the pregnant woman can experience excruciating pain.
Causes of Tubal Pregnancy
Excessive smoking may lead to an ectopic pregnancy.
Many factors can cause tubal pregnancy. It is essential to evaluate the lifestyle before deciding to become pregnant to prevent this from occurring in the future. Here are some factors that can increase the risk of tubal pregnancy:
Unprotected Sex with Multiple Partners
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a severe complication caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. The Mayo Clinic defined PID as an infection of one or more of the upper reproductive organs such as the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. One of the complications of PID is ectopic pregnancy.
Before deciding to get pregnant, it is essential to consult your doctor and run some tests to know your situation. If you are already pregnant and have a history of STD, be sure to tell your doctor so you can have a prenatal check-up.
Women who are smoking have a higher risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. This activity can alter the structure and function of the fallopian tube. Nicotine also changes the gene expression of PROKR1, a gene that regulates smooth muscles and implantation within the uterus. The contractions in the tubes prevent the embryo from passing through the uterus.
If you are planning to get pregnant, you should start quitting smoking. It has more negative effects such as miscarriage and stillbirth, placental abruption, placenta previa, preterm birth, low birth weight, and congenital disabilities.
Previous Ectopic Pregnancy
After experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, the chances of having pregnancy in the uterus is 60-70 %. It means that one in ten women who had an ectopic pregnancy can experience another ectopic pregnancy.
Since the risk is still high, you must consult a doctor while trying to get pregnant. Transvaginal ultrasound also shows an intrauterine pregnancy or another ectopic pregnancy. You must not also ignore the early signs of ectopic pregnancy, such as pain and vaginal bleeding or spotting.
Fallopian Tube Blockages
A blocked fallopian tube prevents the embryo from traveling to the uterus, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy. It can affect one or both the tubes and may also result in infertility. The causes of blocked fallopian tubes are the following: pelvic inflammatory disease, previous surgery of fallopian tubes, operation of ectopic pregnancy, growth of fibroids, and endometriosis.
Natural treatments for blocked fallopian tubes are vitamin C, turmeric, ginger, garlic, lodhra, dong quai, and ginseng. You can also try having fertility massages to unblock the fallopian tubes. Yoga, exercises, and meditation also help to have good effects on the fallopian tubes.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Natural pregnancies have only 1% of an ectopic pregnancy, but in vitro fertilization (IVF) can increase by 5%. During the IVF treatment, the embryos are inserted directly into the womb. However, some fertility specialists observed that the embryos are sometimes implanted too high in the womb cavity that it wanders and embeds themselves in the fallopian tube.
If you are in an IVF treatment, continuously monitor your pregnancy. If you experience any symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, it is advisable to seek medical help immediately. Consult your doctor for a check-up and diagnosis.
Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
Neck pain is one of the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy.
Usually, an ectopic pregnancy terminates only after a few days of conception. However, it may continue for a longer time, resulting in a rupture in the fallopian tubes. Rupture may lead to life-threatening bleeding. Here are some of the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy:
An ectopic pregnancy does not only result in physical pain but also emotional turmoil. Instead of experiencing the life-threatening event, the causes of ectopic pregnancy must be avoided as early as now. If symptoms occur, the help of medical professionals and loved ones are needed.
Dr. Yaron Seidman DAOM