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Life After an Ectopic Pregnancy

Life After an Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy can be emotionally and physically draining. Getting the right medical care and seeking emotional support can help you recover. 

At Darin Swainston MD. FACOG in Las Vegas, Nevada, our providers specialize in obstetric care and treatments for ectopic pregnancy. 

About ectopic pregnancy

When a fertilized egg develops outside of your uterus, it’s called an ectopic pregnancy. About 2% of all pregnancies are ectopic. Almost all these pregnancies happen in one of the fallopian tubes.

In the early days, an ectopic pregnancy causes the same symptoms as a normal pregnancy. As the pregnancy continues, it can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding, sudden, severe abdominal or pelvic pain, and cramping on one side of your pelvis. 

As the fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, it can cause the fallopian tube to rupture. This is a serious, life-threatening condition since it causes significant internal bleeding. Most of the time, ectopic pregnancies are diagnosed when the fallopian tube ruptures or during an exam with your OB/GYN through an ultrasound. 

Ectopic pregnancies are fatal for the fetus, and the pregnancy cannot continue. It’s very important to get treatment as soon as possible for an ectopic pregnancy. 

When caught early, before the fallopian tube rupture, your provider uses special medication called methotrexate to end the pregnancy. Your body then absorbs the cells over the following weeks. 

Emergency surgery is required when the ectopic pregnancy progresses and your fallopian tube ruptures. Surgery may also be needed if the tube hasn’t ruptured, but you’re not a candidate for methotrexate. 

This surgery is usually performed using minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques. Your surgeon makes a few small incisions, then uses special tools and a lighted camera to surgically remove your fallopian tube and/or the ectopic pregnancy.

Physical recovery after ectopic pregnancy

Your recovery after an ectopic pregnancy varies depending on when the pregnancy was diagnosed and the treatments you received. For some women, the pregnancy terminates on its own and your body recovers without many side effects.

If your ectopic pregnancy is treated with medication, you may feel tired for several weeks. You can also expect some abdominal pain. Other side effects of methotrexate include:

If you have emergency surgery or planned laparoscopic surgery for an ectopic pregnancy, you can expect to need to take it easy for 2-4 weeks. You will also experience some abdominal soreness, swelling, and vaginal spotting or bleeding. 

Most women can return to work and other daily activities about two weeks after their surgery, but you should avoid exercise and heavy lifting until your surgeon gives you the all clear.

Emotional recovery after ectopic pregnancy

Even after you’ve physically recovered from an ectopic pregnancy, it’s normal to experience difficult emotions. This is especially true if you’ve been trying to get pregnant, but women who were not planning a pregnancy may also experience emotional trauma

Many women experience feelings of guilt, anger, fear, and sadness. Be sure to seek support from family and friends, or a mental health counselor, to help you emotionally recover from this traumatic experience. 

Be sure to ask your Darin Swainston, MD. FACOG provider for recommendations for mental health counseling. Some women find online forums for women who’ve experienced an ectopic pregnancy to be helpful. 

You can help yourself recover emotionally by getting the support you need and taking care of your physical health by getting:

You’ll also want to avoid drinking, drugs, and tobacco, which can take a toll physically and make it more challenging to recuperate emotionally. 

Future pregnancies after ectopic pregnancy

Some women fear their future fertility after an ectopic pregnancy. This is understandable since having an ectopic pregnancy once increases your risk (10%) for future ectopic pregnancy. 

The good news is that most women who have ectopic pregnancies go on to have full-term, healthy pregnancies in the future — even after having surgery to remove a fallopian tube. In fact, as long as the remaining fallopian tube is healthy, the rate of pregnancy is almost the same after treatment. 

For women who were struggling with infertility when an ectopic pregnancy occurred, it’s possible to continue infertility treatments. At Darin Swainston, MD. FACOG, our team creates personalized infertility treatment plans to meet every woman’s unique needs. 

Learn more about life after ectopic pregnancy by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at Darin Swainston MD. FACOG in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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