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An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg is implanted in some anatomical structure other than the uterus. They are called extrauterine pregnancies. Commonly, the egg will be located in one of the fallopian tubes, this is called a tubal pregnancy. This usually happens shortly after fertilization but symptoms are not evident until between the 6th and 12th week after the egg has been fertilized. The woman will "feel pregnant" and she will have a positive pregnancy test.
Extrauterine pregnancies do not continue to term because when the gamete starts to grow and gets larger in size, the anatomical location can't accommodate the growth. If the location is in the fallopian tube, the increasing size of the gamete stretches the tube and causes increased luminal pressure, this results in abdominal pain for the mother and eventually the fallopian tube will rupture, this terminates the pregnancy.
These events can lead to massive intraabdominal hemorrhage and hypovolemic shock. Emergent surgical intervention is needed.
Ectopic pregnancies are very dangerous and it is virtually impossible for these pregnancies to make it to full term.
There is no way to save an ectopic pregnancy. It cannot turn into a normal pregnancy. If the egg keeps growing in the fallopian tube, it can damage or burst the tube and cause heavy bleeding that could be deadly. If you have an ectopic pregnancy, you will need quick treatment to end it before it causes dangerous problems.
It is incredibly important that if a woman is experiencing any pain that she notify her doctor immediately. This way tests can be performed to find out why she is experiencing this pain. Usually pain will begin on one side of the body and then radiate to the other side. In addition, there may be vaginal bleeding. It is also very possible that the woman may not know she is even pregnant.
In extremely rare documented cases, some women have been known to carry a baby to term; however it is exceptionally rare, and quite significantly dangerous for both the mother and the developing infant. In most cases the embryo has already died once it has been discovered.
The problem in ectopic pregnancies is that the fertilized egg does not have enough room to grow, and cannot get all of the nutrients it needs. If the embryo is discovered alive it is highly likely that the person's doctor will terminate the pregnancy to save the mother of the possibility of dying or being very ill, and the baby that, if it did survive to full term, will probably have crippling birth defects due to the lack of space and nutrients.
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