In a normal pregnancy, the sperm travels to the egg to fertilize it and this fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. When it embeds in this lining, it’s safe for the embryo to grow and form a placenta. However, sometimes when the fertilized egg fails to implant in the uterus and instead embeds elsewhere, this is known as ectopic pregnancy.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG), the most common site for ectopic pregnancy is the fallopian tube, where 90 percent of the embryos implant. The other regions where ectopic pregnancy can occur include ovaries, cervix, or the abdominal cavity. Urgent help from a top gynecologist is needed in case of ectopic pregnancies, as they can cause life-threatening complications. As expected, this fertilized egg cannot survive, and the pregnancy does not proceed normally.
Who is at Risk for Ectopic Pregnancy?
There are some people, who according to the top Gynecologists are more prone to ectopic pregnancy. These include:
People with a history of ectopic pregnancy: women who have had an ectopic pregnancy previously, are more at risk of another one in the future. Such women should have regular check-ups, and if they suspect they are pregnant, they should reach out to their doctor as soon as possible.
Women with a history of pelvic inflammatory disease: pelvic inflammatory diseases, such as the sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia etc. can cause inflammatory changes inside the uterus. This inflammation can form adhesions and interrupt the normal pathway of the eggs and sperm. Consequently, the fertilized egg can implant on sites other than the uterine lining, most commonly the fallopian tube.
Smoking: smoking makes women more prone to ectopic pregnancy, likely due to effect of chemicals in smoke on fallopian tubes.
Tubal surgery: tubal surgery for any cause can also result in formation of adhesions secondary to inflammation that interrupt the normal passage of egg and sperm, similar to that seen in PID.
Women with an intrauterine device: an IUD or intrauterine device, placed by your OBGYN can prevent pregnancy. However, in rare instances, if pregnancy does occur, it is likely to be tubal or ectopic. Apart from an IUD, the procedure of tubal ligation also increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy. However, the chances of ectopic pregnancy with these are extremely rare.
Fertility treatments: women who undergo fertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization (IVF) can also have ectopic pregnancy, according to research. Additionally, the risk is higher in infertility as well.
Older age: the risk of ectopic pregnancy is higher in women who are older.
Endometriosis: while the exact reason is not known why endometriosis increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy, but this condition is associated with increased chances of embedding of fertilized egg at a site other than the uterus. Endometriosis is a health condition, whereby the uterine tissue lies outside the womb, and still responds to the menstrual cycle. This tissue can lie anywhere, but it’s commonly found in the ovaries. If you suffer from endometriosis, it’s best to reach out to the best Gynecologist in Islamabad for treatment and preventive strategies.