Ectopic pregnancies are actually not all that uncommon. They are generally perceived to occur in 1 out of every 50 pregnancies and you are more likely to go through with them if you’re above the age of 35 or if you’re undergoing fertility treatments.
But what are they?
Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg attaches itself anywhere else in the reproductive system other than the uterus. Usually this happens in the Fallopian tubes and that’s why it is common practice to call them tubal pregnancies. For anyone who didn’t already know, the uterus is the only place where a fertilized egg can grow into a baby and anywhere else would not only be extremely painful but very dangerous.
This is why it is imperative to go in for a pelvic exam and get yourself treated as soon as possible.
So, how does one identify an ectopic pregnancy?
Generally, during normal pregnancies, hcG levels rise and are therefore registered on a pregnancy test, however in ectopic pregnancies, the hcG levels also rise enough to register a pregnancy but will not always rise as they should.
Other ways to identify ectopic pregnancies is by identifying symptoms such as sharp abdominal or pelvic pain that lasts for longer than a couple of minutes, weakness, feeling faint, heavy vaginal bleeding and even gastro-intestinal issues.
Who is at risk of an ectopic pregnancy?
If you’re older than 35, have ever had an abortion, have some sort of pelvic inflammatory disorder, have endometriosis, are pregnant while having an IUD or undergoing fertility treatments and have had previous surgeries, you are at a greater risk of this happening.
Therefore it is imperative that if you are experiencing similar symptoms, you go in for a pelvic exam and apart from getting your hcG levels checked your gynecologist might also test your progesterone levels. However if you are experiencing pain in your shoulder region, this might imply that you are in need of a culdocentisis which involves inserting a needle just near the top of your vagina to check if there is blood from a ruptured Fallopian tube.
So, why am i seeing so much buzz nowadays about these pregnancies online and in the news?
Well, this is something to do with the recent regressive laws that certain states in America are passing. A bill in Ohio was proposed that states that it is required by law that medical practitioners “re-implant” eggs in ectopic pregnancies into the uterus to bring the pregnancy to term. However, this is both ridiculous and medically impossible.
Such legislation, even proposed can not only be physically dangerous for mothers who are facing ectopic pregnancies but can also be emotionally damaging to them since misinformation will lead them to believe that their hypothetical babies could be saved. Although this is not the case as no ectopic pregnancies lead to healthy babies.
This case is testament to the fact that medical information and education should be left to the professionals and not used to forward political agendas as real lives are at stake.