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Understanding Ectopic Pregnancy And Its Complications

By Chinelo Eze
25 January 2023   |   1:04 pm
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus, typically in the fallopian tube in order words,  it is a type of pregnancy in which the fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus, typically in the fallopian tubes. This type of pregnancy can be life-threatening for the mother if not treated promptly.…

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus, typically in the fallopian tube in order words,  it is a type of pregnancy in which the fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus, typically in the fallopian tubes.

This type of pregnancy can be life-threatening for the mother if not treated promptly. The main cause of ectopic pregnancy is a problem with the fallopian tubes, such as a blockage or damage. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may include abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding,  lightheadedness and shoulder pain. In some cases, there may be no symptoms at all.

Risk factors for ectopic pregnancy include a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, smoking, and previous ectopic pregnancy tubal surgery, and the use of fertility drugs or in vitro fertilization. Women who have had pelvic surgery, smoke or have a history of infertility or have had a previous ectopic pregnancy are more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy in the future.

Other types of complicated pregnancies include:

Molar pregnancy: where the placenta becomes a mass of cysts and can be cancerous.

Placental abruption: where the placenta separates from the uterus before delivery, leading to bleeding and decreased oxygen supply to the baby.

Preterm labour: where labour begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes: is a high blood sugar level that develops during pregnancy.

Preeclampsia: is a serious condition that causes high blood pressure and damage to organs, particularly the kidneys and liver.

Placental abruption: where the placenta separates from the uterus before birth

Ectopic pregnancy is also more common in women over 35. While the percentage of ectopic pregnancies in Nigeria is not readily available, it is estimated to be around 1-2% of all pregnancies. However, this number may be higher due to a lack of access to healthcare and difficulty in diagnosis.