Ectopic pregnancy complicates unwanted pregnancy abortions
Women carrying unwanted pregnancies often seek abortions to terminate their pregnancies. However, the abortion rules in different countries come at crossroads. They stand as barriers for women seeking safe, legal and confidential abortions.
The majority of unwanted pregnancies are a result of contraceptive failure. Women who do not know of their safe abortion options are often in a hurry or panic tend to opt for unsafe abortions. By doing so, they put their health and lives at immense risk.
Ectopic pregnancy is one out of many abortion risks. It is a case of medical emergency and if the patient does not receive immediate medical attention and care, it may even be fatal. It can impact her future fertility. Even self-administration of abortion pills can be fatal in events of ectopic pregnancies.
This post intends to shed light on what is ectopic pregnancy, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, we will also be speaking about how with the right knowledge you can have ectopic pregnancy treated at the earliest.
It is not that women do not think about this complication, but the fact is that they know very little about ectopic pregnancies. Even it is a topic very less spoken of. Moreover, unmarried girls or other women who experience pregnancy for the first time hardly know that a wrongful pregnancy can be a complication or it even exists.
“Do you know, 10% of maternal deaths are accountable due to ectopic pregnancies and their complications worldwide.”
(Ref. Worldwide incidence of ectopic pregnancy: A protocol for a systematic review, Dr. Esra Esim Buyukbayrak, Kartal Education and Research Hospital: Istanbul, Turkey; Postgraduate Training Course in Reproductive Health 2004)
Do you have a choice? This post may help you know your best options.
Let us begin with an introduction to Ectopic Pregnancy.
What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
A woman’s body undergoes various stages of the menstrual cycle every month. As a part of this cycle, when she ovulates, an egg or the ovum gets released from one of her two ovaries. The egg then awaits fertilization for nearly 12-24 hours.
If it gets fertilized by the male sperm, the fertilized product is known as an embryo that has to travel to the uterus and get attached to the uterine lining. This is the destination of an embryo where the embryo starts deriving nutrition from the mother’s body and starts growing day by day throughout the gestation period.
This is the case with normal pregnancy which is also known as intrauterine pregnancy since the embryo is in the uterus.
Now, what if the embryo does not reach the uterus? If it is not in the uterus, then where is it?
After fertilization, the embryo has to cross a pathway, the fallopian tube. The fallopian tubes are the narrow ducts that connect both the ovaries to the uterus. But if it gets stuck in the middle of the journey or gets positioned somewhere other than the uterus, the pregnancy is termed as extrauterine or ectopic pregnancy.
These wrong locations can be the fallopian tube, cervix or even the abdominal cavity.
Tubal ectopic pregnancies: The most common form of ectopic pregnancies:
When the embryo stays in the midway, anywhere in the fallopian tube, it is known as a tubal pregnancy. These are the most common types of ectopic pregnancies since all fertilized products have to pass through the fallopian tubes to reach the uterus.
A piece of advice for all pregnant women:
For all women who have just found out that they are pregnant, it is advisable to stay calm and be positive whether the pregnancy is wanted or unwanted.
And in both cases, you are advised to visit a registered medical practitioner and get both the length and location of the pregnancy ascertained.
How is an ectopic pregnancy diagnosed?
An ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed or detected through an ultrasound or a transvaginal scan. The scan reveals the exact length and location of the pregnancy. It is a painless scan.
In a country where abortion is illegal, even for a scan to confirm the pregnancy, a pregnancy file is made that requires the woman and the spouse’s verifiable personal details and their marriage registration certificate.
Without these things, you cannot even have an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy after you miss your period or have a positive Urine Pregnancy Test (UPT).
What will happen in case of an ectopic pregnancy?
If an ectopic pregnancy is not detected early and treated, it may continue to grow at the wrong location. And ectopic locations cannot sustain pregnancies. The embryo may continue to grow as a group of tissues, but usually ectopic pregnancies are not viable.
As soon as the tube gets narrow for the embryo, it may rupture and this condition is a medical emergency and needs urgent action to save the woman’s life.
We will learn about how an ectopic pregnancy is prevented. Even in some cases if it cannot be prevented, at least the fertility and life of the woman can be saved.
Advantages of early detection of ectopic pregnancy:
Have you found out that you are pregnant? Has the pregnancy location and length been checked?
If not, you can schedule an early appointment with AHB which is just a call away.
The advantage of early detection of an ectopic pregnancy is that early ectopic pregnancies can be treated with just a few safe medicines. No surgery is generally required when detected early.
But in late cases, such as ruptured tubal pregnancies, surgery is needed. The ruptured tube and the attached ovary are removed during the procedure to save the woman’s life and stop internal haemorrhage. This is how an ectopic pregnancy can be fatal.
This surgery may save the woman’s life but it may affect her future pregnancies. Such women have their fertility reduced to only 50% with one remaining ovary. And she may experience difficulty in conceiving in future. This is how an ectopic pregnancy can impair your future pregnancies.
If this surgery gets delayed, it may be very difficult to save the woman’s life. Hence, it is best to get the earliest appointment scheduled as soon as you miss your period or your Urine Pregnancy Test (UPT) is positive.
Wanted pregnancies are welcome. But what about unwanted pregnancies?
And what if you are pregnant out of the marriage of you are unmarried or a single mother or just that you do not want the child for any other personal, social or economic reasons?
Does your country permit legal abortions?
Are you living in Dubai, Sharjah, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the Philippines or a country where abortion is illegal or the abortion rules are very strict?
In such a case, you may struggle to find out the length and location of pregnancy since you will be required to get a pregnancy file made before any diagnostic tests.
And the file can only be made with the consent of both parents and unmarried girls don’t have even this choice.
Most likely, this is not your choice at all in all these cases. But do not get disheartened. You can schedule an early appointment with American Hospital Bangalore (AHB) in Bangalore, India. Here, abortion is not only legal but the world’s best abortion team ensures the safety of the abortion and privacy of the patient.
Another big thing is that you do not need consent of a partner if you are an adult. All adult women can get a private one-to-one consultation with the doctor. You can have all the diagnostic tests performed in-house. The doctor will check for both the length and location of the pregnancy.
The two scenarios with an unwanted pregnancy abortion in India:
There are two possibilities with unwanted pregnancies in respect to their location when you visit AHB by an early appointment.
- A normal intrauterine pregnancy
- An ectopic pregnancy
An unwanted intrauterine pregnancy: What is your next option?
If you visit American Hospital Bangalore for early consultation and are found to be carrying a normal pregnancy, but the pregnancy is unwanted, it can be terminated by a small abortion procedure on the same day.
Yes, take a sigh of relief. Along with the location of the pregnancy, the doctor will also check for the pregnancy length and if you wish you can get it terminated by a short procedure then itself.
According to the gestation length, there are three recommended methods for terminating pregnancies. These are:
The medical method of abortion: It may be prescribed if your gestation length is less than 6-8 weeks. It involves the administration of abortion pills to remove the embryo through vaginal blood flow.
It is just like a heavy period. But since the method involves moderate to severe pain, bleeding and a waiting period of up to a week to be assured of a successful abortion, most women opt for Gentle care and the painless abortion procedure.
Furthermore, the abortion pill method is nearly 95%-98% effective which means that there are chances of incomplete abortion. These incomplete abortions pose many difficulties for women and they are required to undergo surgical procedures to complete the abortions.
The vacuum aspiration method (VA method) of abortion: It is prescribed for terminating pregnancies that are less than 12 weeks. This method involves sucking the embryo with the help of an aspirator where a vacuum is applied to create suction. It is a very gentle procedure that is absolutely painless and at AHB, the expert team conducts it precisely within 3-10 minutes. You can expect minimum bleeding, zero pain and a complete abortion. You can return home with a stress-free mind.
Dilatation and Evacuation (D&E) or the surgical method of abortion: It is the recommended method of abortion for terminating late-stage pregnancies, i.e., the ones that are beyond 12 weeks of gestation but the legally permissible age of fewer than 20 weeks.
Since you are visiting the hospital for early consultation, this may likely not be your procedure. But if the doctor sees this method as the best for your case-specific like large embryo size and other medical conditions, this method may be prescribed for you.
At AHB, this method too is very gentle and painless. It may take less than 30 minutes to be completed. The uterine cavity is evacuated using small, safe and sterile medical tools. The whole cavity is cleaned and uterine packaging introduced to minimize blood loss.
Even with this procedure, you may get discharged in an hour or so and you can confidently return home with a successful abortion.
There may be a few concerns regarding abortion laws that may be capturing your mind right now. So, here is a quick Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the same.
Q. Is abortion legal in India? If I plan to travel to Bangalore from my country, will I get a safe and legal abortion?
Ans. Yes, abortion in India is legal under wide circumstances and one of them being the incidences of contraceptive failure.
Q. Do I need my partner’s consent for the abortion?
Ans. No, you can avail of abortion in India only with your consent if you are an adult.
Q. I do not wish to involve my parents in this. I am unmarried and want a safe abortion? Can I have it without their consent?
Ans. Yes, you can avail of a legal and safe abortion in India even if you are unmarried and that too only on your consent if you are an adult. In India, all people who have attained the age of 18 years are considered adults.
An unwanted ectopic pregnancy: What is your next option?
There may be an instance that you visit AHB for an early consultation for unwanted pregnancy and ultrasound reveals that your pregnancy is ectopic.
Good news #1:
If found so, again there is nothing to panic about. The first best thing is that you visited earlier than a mishap like a ruptured tube. So, both your fertility and life are safe.
Good news #2:
The next best thing is that your ectopic pregnancy can be easily terminated with the help of medicines.
And even if your ectopic pregnancy needs surgical removal, the best abortion clinic is well equipped to carry out a small surgical procedure to treat the ectopic pregnancy.
Factually, ectopic pregnancy removal is technically not an abortion since it is a procedure done to save the woman’s life and the embryo is not viable.
What is the treatment of an ectopic pregnancy?
The medical treatment:
This method as the name suggests makes use of medicines. The safe and approved medicine to terminate an ectopic pregnancy is Methotrexate which can be purchased only against a valid doctor’s prescription.
At AHB, the medicine will be administered at the same time to avoid any delay in the treatment. Moreover, the doctors at AHB prescribe only high-quality standardized branded medicines to ensure their safety as well as efficacy.
The working of the medicine: In case of an ectopic pregnancy, Methotrexate works by stopping the growth of embryo cells. The stopped growth will end the pregnancy. The leftover embryo is absorbed by the body within 4-6 weeks. This eliminates the need for surgery and both the woman’s fertility and her life may be saved.
At AHB, Methotrexate will be prescribed to you taking into consideration various factors like co-existing medical conditions, beta-hCG levels or a breastfeeding mother, allergy, any interacting or contra-indicated medicine being taken, etc. Certain diagnostic blood tests are performed to make the right prescription.
If the patient’s case permits, Methotrexate is administered as a single injection under the doctor’s observation. After that, you may get discharged. You will have to undergo repeat blood diagnostic tests for checking if the second dose is required or not.
Hence, it is advisable never to self-administer any medicine without consulting a doctor or a pharmacist.
Besides, at AHB, you will receive post-abortion guidance with Methotrexate. There are certain Do’s and Don’ts after Methotrexate administration and only a qualified and experienced doctor can guide you the same.
The surgical treatment:
Usually, surgery for an ectopic pregnancy where the fallopian tube and ovary are removed are required for ruptured tubes.
Since we are speaking of an early diagnosis in this post, we can expect the woman to be early in consulting the doctor. And it is during this diagnosis and consultation that she becomes aware of the fact that she is carrying an ectopic pregnancy.
Firstly, if her case permits, she may be treated medically only. But in some cases, like an enlarged embryo or if the patient cannot be administered Methotrexate due to any specific reason, then surgery may be needed.
If it is AHB where you visit and get acquainted with your case-specific, then you can still feel at ease. The hospital is well-equipped, the doctors highly qualified and the team internationally trained to perform ectopic pregnancy removal surgeries with high precision and accuracy.
It is possible that your tube is saved and only the embryo is removed from the tube. But in some cases, the tube and the ovary may have to be removed. This still saves the complications like internal haemorrhage that may happen if the pregnancy gets ruptured. And lives may be saved.
What to expect during an ectopic pregnancy surgery at AHB?
At AHB, if the surgical method is adopted for removing your ectopic pregnancy, you can expect it to be a small and efficient procedure.
Since the surgery is done under general anaesthesia, it gives a painless abortion experience.
The method used for ectopic pregnancy removal is known as Laparoscopy. In this procedure, small incisions are made in the abdominal region from where a very slender and lighted camera, known as a laparoscope is inserted to view the organs, location and the progress of the surgery.
Other instruments required to perform the surgery are also inserted. The fallopian tube and ovary are removed. After a few stitches, the surgery is closed.
Since the hospital premises are disinfected at regular intervals and sterile instruments are used for all procedures, the chances of infections are minimized.
For further preventing any kind of bacterial or viral attack since the patient is vulnerable to various infections after surgical procedures, antibiotics and pain management medicines will be provided as a part of post-surgical prophylaxis.
Additionally, you can expect to receive dietary guidance and supplements to aid in early recovery.
There are still many questions and here are answers to them.
Q. Can the fallopian tube rupture very early even before I know I am pregnant?
Ans. Yes, it may happen in some cases and immediate medical attention is required for saving the woman’s life. It is usually noticed when a woman gets unconscious without any known reason and when taken to an emergency.
It is therefore advisable that you consult a doctor as soon as possible you realize that you are pregnant. Feel free to call on AHB’s helpline number to schedule an early appointment.
Q. Is there any warning sign or symptom of an ectopic pregnancy?
Ans. Generally, with a missed period and a positive UPT, a woman knows that she is pregnant. Ectopic pregnancy symptoms are the same as any pregnancy like breast tenderness, nausea, light pelvic pain or even vaginal spotting.
These may be mistaken for Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms or even normal intrauterine pregnancy symptoms. Vaginal spotting may be mistaken for implantation bleeding as well. Then, how to differentiate quite early?
Although, an ultrasound is the most efficient method you can at least schedule an appointment if you have any symptoms as mentioned above. Symptoms that are different from intrauterine pregnancy are moderate to intense shoulder pain or an urge for a bowel movement. Symptoms vary for individual women since they are dependent on the location where blood gets collected and the nerves get irritated.
Q. Can an ectopic pregnancy be prevented?
Ans. An ectopic pregnancy cannot be usually be prevented but its probability can be reduced in women who are at a higher risk of developing them.
Preventive measures to avoid ectopic pregnancy:
- Fallopian tubes may get inflamed due to sexually transmitted diseases or other infections like PID. In case you have abnormal vaginal discharge, smelly discharge or any other sign of infection, it is essential to get the same diagnosed and medicine taken for it.
- Smoking is a risk factor and hence if you smoke, it may be better to quit before trying to get pregnant.
For any other unaddressed query or concern, your comments are welcome in the section below or you can call on AHB helpline number, speak to a healthcare professional.
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