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Ectopic Pregnancy

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg attaches and begins to grow outside of the uterus. The most common place for this to happen is in the fallopian tube. This is sometimes called a tubal pregnancy. The egg can also implant on the outside of the uterus, on the ovary or cervix, or in the abdomen. The egg may begin to grow, but the pregnancy cannot continue normally. Ectopic pregnancy can cause heavy bleeding and may be life-threatening.

Ectopic Pregnancy

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

Surgery may cause bleeding or infection. Even after treatment, you may have another ectopic pregnancy or have difficulty getting pregnant in the future. If left untreated, parts of your reproductive system or other organs may get damaged. This may cause infection or severe bleeding, and may become life-threatening.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.

  • Rh negative medicine: If you have Rh negative blood, you may be given medicine to prevent problems with future pregnancies. Ask your caregiver for more information about Rh factor incompatibility.

Tests:

  • Blood and urine tests: These tests can show if you are currently pregnant, or if you have infections or other problems.

  • Ultrasound: This uses sound waves to show pictures of the inside of your uterus, ovaries, and abdomen. An ultrasound is usually done over your abdomen, but you may also need a vaginal ultrasound. During a vaginal ultrasound, a small tube is placed into your vagina. This can help caregivers see areas that may be hard to see during an abdominal ultrasound.

Treatments:

  • Medicines: Methotrexate or another medicine may be given to stop the pregnancy. This may be given as an injection. You may need more than one dose of this medicine.

  • Blood transfusion: You may need to receive blood through an IV if you have lost a large amount of blood.

  • Surgery: This may be done to repair or remove tissue or ruptured fallopian tubes.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Ectopic Pregnancy (Inpatient Care)

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