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Pregnancy Problems

During pregnancy, your health is number one priority. That’s why we went straight to top pregnancy health experts for all the details you want to know about the most common pregnancy problems. In our pregnancy problems guide, you can read about a slew of pregnancy conditions – everything from hemorrhoids to gestational diabetes. Find out what any pregnancy symptom could possibly mean (are you swollen just because you’re expecting, or is it a sign of some complication?) and find out whether or not it’s worth a call to your OB. If you already know you’ve got a pregnancy complication or health condition, our comprehensive articles will give you the scoop on its causes and how it can affect you and baby. Plus, get treatment tips straight from medical experts and pregnant women like you. Yup, we've got answers to all your questions about pregnancy health problems right here!

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Ectopic Pregnancy

Want to know more about ectopic pregnancy? We have all the must-know info here.

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

Normally, the fertilized egg settles and develops in the uterus. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg fails to make it all the way to the uterus and implants instead in the fallopian tube, ovary, cervix or abdomen. The problem is that none of those parts of your body can contain a growing baby. An ectopic pregnancy is a serious medical condition that can actually threaten a woman’s life.

What are the signs of an ectopic pregnancy?

The most common symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are abnormal bleeding and/or pelvic pain in the first trimester. If you experience any of these symptoms -- especially if you’re in a high-risk category -- contact your health care provider immediately. An undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy could rupture the fallopian tube (or other internal structure) and cause severe internal bleeding and permanent damage to your reproductive system.

Are there any tests for an ectopic pregnancy?

Yes. Your OB will likely do an ultrasound very early in your pregnancy to check baby’s positioning in your uterus. An ectopic pregnancy could also be considered a possibility during a pelvic exam or blood test. If the doc suspects an ectopic pregnancy, you’ll probably be ordered to undergo further testing, such as a D&C laparoscopy or laparotomy.

How common is an ectopic pregnancy?

It happens in anywhere from 1 in 40 to 1 in 100 pregnancies.

-- James O’Brien, MD, ob-gyn and medical director of inpatient obstetrics at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island in Providence

 

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