An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs anywhere outside of the uterus. The uterus is the abode of a normal pregnancy; however sometimes, instead of attaching itself to the uterus, the egg latches on to the wall of an ovary, a Fallopian tube or even the cervix. When this egg gets fertilized, it is termed as an ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy is not pleasant and carries the risk of death as there is no room for the pregnancy to develop normally and the tube will eventually rupture. Knowing what the warning signs are will help a woman identify them if they ever occur and can prevent a fatal situation.
Various Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms
Spotting Or Bleeding
Spotting or bleeding can occur due to various reasons – including a normal pregnancy. While this is a normal occurrence during pregnancy, it is an indicator of an ectopic pregnancy.
If a woman suffers from spotting or bleeding, it is important that she brings it to the notice of her primary care physician or gynecologist. If the doctor suspects an ectopic pregnancy and more tests are warranted, she will immediately order for the same.
Slowly Elevating hCG Levels
The hCG level is a good indicator of a pregnancy – especially early pregnancy. During the early stages of pregnancy the hCG level will rapidly increase over a few days. This is a sign that the pregnancy is a normal pregnancy. In the case of an early ectopic pregnancy, the rise of the hCG level will be slow and sluggish. This is a clear indicator of an ectopic pregnancy and should not be ignored.
Cramping And Pain
Mild cramps do occur during the first stage of a normal pregnancy. However, if the cramping is very severe and is accompanied by spotting or bleeding a doctor must be notified immediately. If a woman develops severe pain either on one side or bilaterally it could be a sign that the ectopic pregnancy has progressed to the point where the tube has ruptured. When the tube ruptures, the pain increases and may be excruciating.
Not all women who have an ectopic pregnancy experience pain – some may not experience pain until the tube has ruptured. Because of the pressure on the rectum, this pain can be mistaken for pain due to gas. If you are aware that you are pregnant and suffer from severe pain that seems to be gas it must be brought to your gynecologist’s attention immediately.
Pregnant women who develop a shoulder pain must rush to the doctor as soon as possible. A shoulder pain in indicative of an ectopic pregnancy in which the tube has already ruptured. This means that there is severe internal bleeding that is causing an irritation of the nerves, thereby causing the shoulder to pain. This is an emergency and can lead a woman into shock and even cause death if it is not attended to immediately.
Since most of the symptoms experienced during an early ectopic pregnancy are the same as those that are experienced during a normal pregnancy, it is important that pregnant women keep an eye out for any symptom that seems too severe or abnormal for a normal pregnancy and bring it to the notice of her gynecologist as soon as possible.