Ectopic Pregnancy : Causes, Signs and Prevention

Just before we dive into what ectopic pregnancy is, let us look at some organs of the “Female Reproductive System” and how it works.

• Ovaries

– They produce the eggs

• Fallopian Tubes

– The eggs travel through the fallopian tube where they may be fertilized by a sperm

Uterus (Womb)

– The fertilized egg moves down through the fallopian tube to the womb where it will stay and mature into a baby.

That’s the normal process of pregnancy but whenever a fertilized egg refuses to move down to the womb and implants or grows outside the womb, that pregnancy is called an ECTOPIC PREGNANCY.

It is an emergency and is life threatening.

The most common type (about 80-90%) is the TUBAL PREGNANCY when it occurs in the fallopian tubes.

You can imagine a baby growing in that non-elastic small fallopian tubes. They will burst open and the person might bleed to death.

Causes Of Ectopic Pregnancy

There are no “clear cut” causes of Ectopic pregnancy, but there are things that increases the risk of E.P and they include:

1. Previous Ectopic Pregnancy

– If you’ve had ectopic pregnancy before,you might have again

2. Tubal Surgeries

– Any surgery done on the fallopian tubes could cause occurrence of ectopic pregnancy

3. Infection

– STI’s such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia and other infections like PID can increase risk.

4. Fertility Treatment

– Women who have undergone IVF are at risk.

5. Smoking

– It increases the risk of having ectopic pregnancy

6. Multiple Abortions

– This also increases risk of Ectopic pregnancy.

Signs Of Ectopic Pregnancy

Initially it would be normal signs of pregnancy such as
– Missed period
– Nipple pain

But early signs of Ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Dizziness and weakness
  • Pain in the shoulder and neck
  • Pain on one side of the body

Prevention Of Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy could be quite difficult to prevent, but you can reduce the risk by :

  • Reduce number of sexual partners
  • Register for Ante Natal early in pregnancy to enable early detection
  • Use condoms to prevent STI
  • Stop smoking
  • Live healthy.

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