Womens Health

Preventing Ectopic Pregnancies

When pregnancy has long been awaited, the mother-to-be tries to do everything in her power to keep her developing baby as healthy as possible. If she smokes or drinks, she's going to cut down or better yet--quit, throw out the junk food and start eating more nutritious foods, and wear looser, nonrestrictive clothing. Perhaps she'll even consider taking out a maternity insurance policy. But is there anything she can do to ensure she won't have a tubal pregnancy?

Early Stage

In a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants outside of the womb. This can happen by chance or due to one type of damage or another to the fallopian tube through which the egg must travel to get to the uterus. Sometimes, a fallopian tube will have a blockage, so the egg can't travel any further and becomes stuck inside the tube. Ectopic pregnancies occur in the early stage of pregnancy.

Tubal pregnancies are not a rare occurrence. It is estimated that one in every 50 pregnancies ends in ectopic pregnancy. There is no way to turn an ectopic pregnancy into a viable one. For that reason, it is of the utmost importance you do what you can to reduce your risks for this unfortunate and dangerous condition.

Risk Factors

There are some risk factors that are out of your control. If you've had a previous tubal pregnancy, your risk is higher for a repeat event. If your mother took the medication known as DES while she was pregnant with you, the risk for ectopic pregnancy is also increased.

Still, there are things you can do to minimize your risk. Among the controllable factors that contribute to a heightened risk for ectopic pregnancy are surgical sterilization, the use of an IUD, and treatment with progestin single hormone contraceptives. Fertility treatments also increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy as does smoking cigarettes and douching on a regular basis. Sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) put you at risk for pelvic inflammatory disease, which can damage the fallopian tubes and put you at risk for an ectopic pregnancy. Practicing safe sex is the best way to prevent these and other catastrophes that can affect your health and wellbeing.

After reading this article, you may be concerned that you have one or more risk factors. If this is the case, have a consultation with your obstetrician gynecologist. Your physician is qualified to make a proper evaluation of your risk for ectopic pregnancy and can help monitor your pregnancy to avoid a serious emergency, such as tubal rupture, hemorrhaging, and shock, all three of which might be avoided by proper diagnosis and treatment for ectopic pregnancy.


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