An unexpected pregnancy raises questions you might never have thought about before. As you search for these pregnancy questions online, you might see the term “ectopic pregnancy” as something to watch out for during your first trimester.
What type of pregnancy is an ectopic pregnancy, and is it normal or dangerous? Keep reading to find out.
The definition of ectopic pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is one that occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the uterus. It’s a non-viable pregnancy that won’t be able to develop correctly or safely.
The most common type is a tubal pregnancy—when the fertilized egg implants inside the fallopian tube. This often happens because the fallopian tube could be damaged by inflammation or misshapen.
Having Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) as a result of a sexually-transmitted disease, such as Chlamydia, raises your risk of ectopic pregnancy.
Are ectopic pregnancies dangerous?
Yes, if you leave an ectopic pregnancy untreated it will continue to grow and can cause your fallopian tube to burst. A ruptured fallopian tube can be life-threatening due to bleeding.
Early symptomscan include light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain. The symptoms become more severe as the ectopic pregnancy progresses. Emergency symptoms include fainting, extreme light-headedness, and shock.
It’s best to find and treat an ectopic pregnancy early to avoid any severe symptoms or complications.
How can I determine if I have an ectopic pregnancy?
A pregnancy test by itself will not tell you if you have an ectopic or other non-viable pregnancy. It simply tells you if there’s a presence of the pregnancy hormone, hCG.
The only way to determine if you have one is through an ultrasound scan. In addition to learning if your pregnancy is progressing normally, an ultrasound tells you the age of your pregnancy. This is important information to know what options are available to you.
We offer free ultrasound scans to confirm pregnancy for patients who have received a pregnancy test and pre-ultrasound screening at our medical center. If you’re in Las Vegas, Nevada, you can schedule an appointment with us. We’re here to help.