Women's Health Texas – San Antonio

Ectopic Pregnancy

Left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can cause serious complications

One of the best ways for women to know whether they are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy is to see our San Antonio OBGYNs for routine obstetrics care. It’s also important for women to be aware of the symptoms that occur during a tubal pregnancy, so they can seek immediate medical attention.

Normally, a fertilized embryo implants in the uterus and continues to develop. During this type of pregnancy, the fertilized embryo implants somewhere else, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. This type of pregnancy cannot progress to term. In fact, if left untreated, it can cause the fallopian tube to rupture. A rupture causes internal bleeding and creates a life-threatening situation for the mother.

Certain women have an increased risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy

Physicians and researchers don’t know why a tubal pregnancy occurs, but they do know that certain factors put women at a higher risk.

  • History of ectopic pregnancy
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID
  • Problems related to infertility
  • Problems with the fallopian tubes, including infection, inflammation or structural problems
  • Being age 30 or older
  • Endometriosis
  • Gonorrhea, chlamydia or other STIs
  • Smoking cigarettes

Pregnant women should be aware of the signs and symptoms

Very early in the pregnancy, a woman may not have any symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. Her first symptoms may be pelvic pain or abnormal vaginal bleeding. If she experiences symptoms, such as shoulder pain, dizziness, weakness, fainting, severe pelvic or abdominal pain, or vaginal bleeding, she should contact our San Antonio OBGYNs immediately. These symptoms indicate a pending medical emergency that needs treatment.

Early diagnosis and treatment is important for an ectopic pregnancy

Left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can progress and rupture the fallopian tube. This can threaten the mother’s future fertility and life due to loss of blood. If our San Antonio OBGYNs suspect that a woman has a tubal pregnancy, he or she will perform a pelvic examination. Our physicians may also order bloodwork and an ultrasound.

If it is diagnosed before the fallopian tube ruptures, our OBGYNs may use a medication called methotrexate to stop the embryo’s growth. Another option for an early ectopic pregnancy is  laparoscopic surgery to remove the embryo from the fallopian tube.

If the fallopian tube ruptures, traditional surgery may be necessary and part of the fallopian tube may need to be removed.

Our experienced OBGYNs provide expert obstetrical care for women

Pregnant women require regular obstetrical care to ensure the best possible outcome for mothers and babies. Our Austin ObGyns have the knowledge and experience to diagnose and treat routine and high-risk pregnancy, as well as pregnancy complications such as an ectopic pregnancy. Contact us to schedule an appointment.