Ectopic pregnancy: Can a baby survive outside the uterus?

Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the egg implants itself outside the uterus. Here’s how to deal with this complicated pregnancy.
complicated pregnancy
Complications in pregnancy may occur for women often. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Gauri Agarwal Published: 27 Feb 2022, 17:00 pm IST
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When a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. A fertilized egg implants and matures in the uterus during a normal pregnancy. The fertilized egg, on the other hand, does not make it to the uterus in this complicated pregnancy. It implants in a different location, most commonly in the fallopian tube and such pregnancy is known as a ‘tubal pregnancy’. The ectopic pregnancy can even occur in the ovary, cervix, or abdomen.

One of the key reasons that a fertilized egg does not move down the fallopian tube quickly is due to blocked tubes. Infection or inflammations are the most prevalent causes of clogged tubes. The tube can also be potentially blocked by scar tissue from earlier abdominal surgery or fallopian tube surgery.

When does an ectopic pregnancy happen?

  1. There is a previous history of ectopic pregnancy.
  2. A woman has had infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease or surgery in the pelvic area most commonly due to tuberculosis.
  3. If a mother has had tubal reconstruction and recanalization surgeries.
  4. Increased use of contraceptives like CU T, LNG-IUD.
  5. If a woman has struggled to conceive or has had a fertility treatment.
  6. A woman is a heavy smoker
Keep your distance from smoking to avoid the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Following are some of the initial indicators of ectopic pregnancy:

  1. Anenorrhea or vaginal bleeding that isn’t normal
  2. Lower backache
  3. Mild abdominal or pelvic pain
  4. Tightness in the pelvic region, especially on one side

For a woman bearing the child, an ectopic pregnancy might be risky. As the pregnancy progresses, the organ in which it is implanted may rupture. This can result in significant internal bleeding. That is why it is critical to detect an ectopic pregnancy early on.

tea for period cramps
If you are experiencing sharp pelvic pain, it may be an indicator of a complicated pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How to deal with an ectopic pregnancy?

Although an ectopic pregnancy cannot be prevented, women can lower some of the risk factors. Women who are attempting to conceive should abstain from smoking. Those who smoke should plan to quit smoking before becoming pregnant. After conception, a woman should get in touch with her doctor on a regular basis so that this complicated pregnancy can be detected early on.

If an ectopic pregnancy is discovered, it must be terminated. This can be accomplished by either medicine or surgery. The medication prevents the growth of cells and puts an end to the pregnancy. The ectopic tissue is then absorbed by the body. Some ectopic pregnancies necessitate surgical intervention. These include those that aren’t detected early enough or result in the rupture of a pelvic organ. Laparoscopy is the most common method of surgery for such pregnancies. Sometimes, a doctor may also have to remove the fallopian tube or another organ if it has burst.

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