The word “ectopic” means “out of place”. Ectopic pregnancy is a problem in pregnancy in which the fertilized egg has implanted outside the uterus. In most cases of ectopic pregnancies, the egg settles in the fallopian tube. For this reason, it is also called tubal pregnancy. In some cases, the egg might settle in abdomen or ovary or the cervix which are referred to as cervical or abdominal pregnancies. In none of these places, there are enough places for the fetus to grow, which will ultimately lead to the burst of the organ that contains it. This can cause profuse bleeding and cause danger to the life of the mother. A standard ectopian pregnancy does not grow into live birth.
Treating ectopic pregnancy:
It is essential for one to realize that the ectopic pregnancy can never grow into a normal baby. Further, it cannot be relocated into the womb and made to survive. Hence the only option left is the removal of the same.
If the ectopic pregnancy is not very far along and is within 6 weeks, then it can be removed with an injection of a drug called methotrexate. Methotrexate helps in the dissolving of the fertilized egg and allows the body to reabsorb it. This non surgical treatment helps in the preservation of the fallopian tube.
The ectopic pregnancy that is larger requires surgery. There are two approaches to surgery: i) Laparoscopy and ii) Laparotomy.
The laparoscopic surgery is the easier and safer surgery and is non-invasive. This surgery involves treatment through a small incision at the belly button. In this surgery, a scope with a camera is inserted to check the condition of the fallopian tube and other organs of the body.
On the basis of the condition, the remedial actions are taken. Most ectopic pregnancies can be removed with laparoscopy. This allows the patient to have less pain after the surgery. The patient can be discharged on the same day of the surgery and can resume normal activities within a week.
The Laparotomy surgery requires a much larger surgical cut, about four to five inches down the abdomen. A larger incision is only needed when the ectopic pregnancy is large and is severely ruptured. In this case, the patient is hospitalized for four to five days and cannot resume full normal activity before a period of six weeks.
The earlier the ectopic pregnancy is detected, the easier it becomes for the physician to treat the condition and help in early recovery.