An ectopic pregnancy is also called an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy cannot progress normally. The fertilized egg cannot survive outside the uterus, and the growing tissue can cause life-threatening bleeding if left untreated.

What causes ectopic pregnancy?

The most common type of ectopic pregnancy is a tubal pregnancy. In this type of ectopic pregnancy, a fertilized egg occurs on its way to the uterus because the fallopian tube is often damaged and misshapen due to inflammation and gets stuck in the tube. Some hormonal imbalances or abnormal development of the fertilized egg may also be factors in the formation of an ectopic pregnancy.

Various factors can increase an individual's risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy. The first of these is another case of ectopic pregnancy. Individuals who have had this type of ectopic pregnancy before are more likely to encounter the same situation again.

Some infections, especially sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, can cause inflammation in the fallopian tubes and other nearby organs. Distortions in the shape of the fallopian tube as a result of this inflammation can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Some research shows that individuals who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) or similar fertility treatments are more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy. Infertility itself can also increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Tubal surgery, a type of surgery to fix a closed or damaged fallopian tube, can increase a person's risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy.

Birth control methods can also cause an ectopic pregnancy. People who use an intrauterine device (IUD) have a very low chance of getting pregnant. However, if a person gets pregnant with an IUD in the right place, the pregnancy is more likely to be an ectopic pregnancy. People who become pregnant after tubal ligation, which is a permanent birth control method known as "tubal ligation", have a higher risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy.

Smoking just before getting pregnant can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. The more a person smokes, the higher the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

How to Prevent Ectopic Pregnancy

There is no way to prevent an ectopic pregnancy, but there are some ways to reduce the risk of one. Accordingly, limiting the number of sexual partners and using condoms during sex helps prevent sexually transmitted infections and reduce the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. Smoking should be stopped, especially before trying to get pregnant.

How is an ectopic pregnancy diagnosed?

Regular pelvic exams can help the doctor identify areas of pain, tenderness, or mass in the fallopian tube or ovary. However, the doctor cannot diagnose an ectopic pregnancy just by examining a person's pelvis. Blood tests and ultrasounds are necessary to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy.

The doctor may order a blood test for the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, or HCG, to confirm that the individual is pregnant. Levels of this hormone increase during pregnancy. This blood test may be repeated every few days until an ectopic pregnancy can be confirmed or ruled out with the help of an ultrasound test. This usually happens five to six weeks after conception.

Thanks to the transvaginal ultrasound, the doctor can easily observe the exact location of the individual's pregnancy.

During the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy, the doctor may order a complete blood count test to check for anemia or other signs of blood loss. If the doctor is diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, the doctor may also order a blood test to confirm the person's blood type if the person needs a blood transfusion.