What is ectopic pregnancy? What is the difference between the types?

The ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg by sperm (zygote) is not housed inside the woman’s uterus .

When this happens, the zygote is implanted in other parts of the female reproductive system, such as in the ovaries and fallopian tubes (also called fallopian tubes).

Ectopic pregnancy poses a risk to the woman’s life, since it can cause the rupture of some organ and cause internal bleeding, so it needs to be stopped.

In total pregnancies, about 2% are cases of ectopic pregnancy.

Even though it is harmful to female health, approximately 60% of women who have had this condition develop normal and healthy pregnancies in future years.

What is ectopic and topical pregnancy?

Ectopic pregnancy is when the egg fertilized by the sperm (zygote) is improperly housed, that is, outside the uterus, which can cause complications. Topical pregnancy, on the other hand, is normal pregnancy, that is, when the egg fertilized by the sperm (zygote) lodges inside the uterus.

Topical pregnancy lasts about 9 months, in which the embryo develops inside the mother’s belly and becomes a baby.

Some symptoms are similar in both types of pregnancy (nausea and fainting, for example) which makes the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy difficult.

Types

Ectopic pregnancies can be subdivided into two types: tubal pregnancies and ectopic pregnancies. However, the latter name is like a complication of tubal pregnancy, when a surgical intervention is necessary to avoid risks to the woman’s health.

Tubal pregnancy

Tubal ectopic pregnancy happens when the zygote lodges and develops in the fallopian tubes.

In some cases, the embryo begins to develop. However, it cannot survive outside the womb for two reasons: not having enough space to grow and not finding the necessary nutrients for development.

In these cases, natural abortions are common. If this does not happen, ectopic tubal pregnancy should be stopped as soon as possible, as it can put the woman’s life at risk.

Ectopic pregnancy route

Ectopic pregnancy is when the rupture of the fallopian tube (or fallopian tubes) occurs.

Symptoms of this type of pregnancy include pain, dizziness , pallor, nausea, vomiting, anemia and bleeding.

When a pregnant woman is affected by a broken ectopic pregnancy, it is necessary to have an emergency surgery to remove the embryo (which in most cases is no longer alive).

This surgical intervention is necessary because this rupture of the uterine tube causes hemorrhage, which, if not controlled, can lead a woman to death.

What is endometriosis and how does it influence ectopic pregnancy?

The Endometriosis is a disease caused when the tissues lining the wall of the uterus (endometrium) are in other parts of the female reproductive system such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

The causes of this disease are unknown.

Endometriosis accompanies women throughout the menstrual cycle, from the first menstruation (menarche) to menopause .

Women with endometriosis have a certain natural difficulty in getting pregnant.

A 2015 study of almost 15,000 women revealed that women with endometriosis are 3 times more likely to develop ectopic pregnancies . This condition also increases the chance of a pregnant woman to have a miscarriage by 76%.

The information was collected over 30 years in surveys in Scotland.

This happens because of the accumulation of endometrium in the fallopian tubes or ovaries, which help the egg fertilized by the sperm to settle in the wrong place, that is, outside the uterus.

When a woman diagnosed with endometriosis has an ectopic pregnancy as a complication, if she does not receive medical attention, she may have a miscarriage or need surgery.

What are the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy?

When ectopic pregnancy progresses, the most common symptoms are belly pain or a cramping sensation in the pelvis, fainting, moderate or severe vaginal bleeding, pain during intercourse, dizziness, loss of consciousness and dizziness. If you have these signs, see a gynecologist or obstetrician.

The diagnosis can be made through 2 tests: the blood test (Beta hCG), normally used to diagnose pregnancy; or imaging tests, which allow you to find out where the embryo is located (such as ultrasound).

Read more: Pregnancy Test (blood, pharmacy): how to do it, price, results

Beta hCG exam and ectopic pregnancy

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HCG is a hormone produced by the female body during pregnancy. The blood test that detects pregnancy assesses the amount of this substance.

In a normal pregnancy, the amount of hCG in the woman’s body doubles every 48 hours. In an ectopic pregnancy, the level of hCG does not increase.

Depending on the result of the Beta hCG exam, the doctor may or may not request an image exam to see where the zygote is housed.

Except for hCG, ectopic pregnancy releases all the other hormones of a normal pregnancy, so it is diagnosed by pharmacy tests.


Ectopic pregnancy is risky for a woman and should therefore be terminated. The sooner it is diagnosed, the lower the risk for the pregnant woman. Therefore, if symptoms develop, seek medical help.

As pregnancy is a delicate period, women should seek medical advice before, during and, in some cases, even after pregnancy.

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