Ectopic pregnancy (EP) refers to a condition when a fertilized egg grows outside the uterine cavity. It has been reported to occur in about 2% of pregnancies, representing a major health problem for women of childbearing age due to the risk of rupture and internal bleeding. Identified risk factors for EP are advanced maternal age (over 35 years), pelvic inflammatory disease, chlamydia infection, smoking, prior tubal surgery, induced ovulation as well as in vitro fertilization techniques, and endometriosis.
Since EPs happen more frequently in a woman’s fallopian tube, they are also known as tubal pregnancies. However, they may also occur in the cervix, the abdominal cavity, the ovary and even within a C section scar. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this condition, for early detection and prevention of complications.
1. Risk factors evaluation for early detection of EP
Ectopic pregnancy may develop at any time between five weeks and 14 weeks of pregnancy. If the woman has a history of inflammatory disease in the pelvic area, has undergone fallopian reconstructive surgery for example, or a C section, the resulting scar may prevent the egg to travel down to the uterus for normal implantation. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, any woman presenting the signs of pregnancy should have an early ultrasound scan to verify where the embryo is implanted.