Welcome to Laurie’s Big Blog – October 2020

Every month we will identify the 6 most commonly asked questions about ectopic pregnancy and answer them. If you have any further questions which you cannot find answers on the website, please can you contact us.

 

What is a very late sign of ectopic pregnancy?

As an ectopic pregnancy grows it causes increasing pain in the pelvis, usually one sided. Then when the  pregnancy leaks or ruptures this causes internal bleeding. When lying flat blood tracts up under the diaphragm causing shoulder tip pain. Also, with blood loss, symptoms include an increase in heart rate which can cause palpitations, and low blood pressure with a feeling of tiredness and feeling faint, or actual fainting. Untreated blood loss cause unconsciousness and eventually death due to cardiac arrest.

Which organ does ectopic pregnancy take place most?

The most common site of an ectopic pregnancy is in the Fallopian tube. It can also occur in the portion of the tube in the wall of the uterus, known as a corneal pregnancy. (see video loop) 

Other rare sites include the cervix (the neck of the uterus) or in the scar from a previous Caesarean section(s) (see section on Caesarean section

These uncommon sites of ectopic pregnancy can be difficult to diagnose and present challenges in surgical  management.

How do they remove an ectopic pregnancy?

Surgical management is to remove the part of the Fallopian tube containing the pregnancy. This can be  carried out either laparoscopically (keyhole surgery) or by laparotomy usually through a bikini line incision. The method used depends on the clinical situation.

Most are treated laparoscopically which has the advantages of smaller scars and a quicker recovery time and a shorter hospital stay.

On the website under video loops, laparoscopic surgery can be viewed, however we would advise caution and consider these to be unsuitable for those under the age of 18.

Can ectopic pregnancy have a heartbeat?

On transvaginal scan it is rare to see an ectopic pregnancy with a beating fetal heart, but this is important for the management. If a heartbeat is seen then conservative, or drug treatment with methotrexate is contra  indicated, and surgical treatment is the only option.

On the website under video loops, laparoscopic surgery can be viewed, however we would advise caution and consider these to be unsuitable for those under the age of 18.

How many babies survive ectopic pregnancies?

There have never been any reported cases of a tubal ectopic pregnancy resulting in a live birth.

What is the longest an ectopic pregnancy can last?

Ectopic pregnancy usually presents between six to eight weeks from the last menstrual period, and is very  uncommon after ten weeks.