Updated: Feb 25, 2021
(This post was edited by a licensed RDMS (OB/GYN, AB ARRT (S) sonographer.)
Pregnancy is one of the most exciting and life-changing moments in a woman’s life. But not all pregnancies are equal. Sometimes a woman can take a positive pregnancy test but her pregnancy is non-viable, meaning the baby cannot develop into a normal or safe pregnancy. A viable pregnancy is when a fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube and attaches to the uterus and is not at risk for a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.
While most women know about common pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue, we know less about the risks and symptoms of non-viable pregnancies.
What Is An Ectopic Pregnancy?
“An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy most often occurs in a fallopian tube, which carries eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. This type of ectopic pregnancy is called a tubal pregnancy. Sometimes, an ectopic pregnancy occurs in other areas of the body, such as the ovary, abdominal cavity, or the lower part of the uterus (cervix), which connects to the vagina.
An ectopic pregnancy can't proceed normally. The fertilized egg can't survive, and the growing tissue may cause life-threatening bleeding, if left untreated.”
A woman who begins to experience these symptoms below should seek medical attention immediately as most medical professionals agree that she has 72 hours to receive the most effective treatment.
An ectopic pregnancy commonly ruptures between 6-8 weeks after conception, which makes it a time-sensitive issue. The good news is, ectopic pregnancy can be ruled out at your first ultrasound appointment if you are in the first 6-8 weeks of pregnancy. Most women don’t find out they are pregnant until weeks 4-5, so you probably don’t have long to wait to see your baby on the big screen and rule out a non-viable pregnancy!
1 in every 4 recognizable pregnancies ends in miscarriage, but ectopic pregnancies occur in about 1 out of every 50 pregnancies. Since you can't tell if your pregnancy is viable without an ultrasound, scheduling a sonogram, a doctor’s appointment, and knowing the signs and risk factors are so important to protect your life and reproductive health!
Abortion And Ectopic Pregnancy
Many women who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy, often turn to abortion pills before they schedule a doctor’s appointment or ultrasound. But unless a woman has an ultrasound, she cannot know if she has an ectopic pregnancy (or is about to experience a miscarriage.)
An abortion will not remove an ectopic pregnancy! Only surgery can remove a tubular pregnancy safely.
If a woman is contemplating an abortion, she should never end her pregnancy until she has first confirmed that it is a viable pregnancy. If a woman is miscarrying, she will not need medicine to end the pregnancy as it will end naturally itself and spare a woman from the harmful side effects of abortion pills. But if a woman is experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, abortion pills will only increase unnecessary bleeding and could lead to death. It’s always best to know how far along you are and if your pregnancy is real before you proceed with an abortion.
Never buy abortion pills online and only take them under the supervision of your doctor. Many pills are sold online from foreign countries on the black market, which means they are not FDA approved. Remember that you only have one reproductive system which is why you should always take special care of it. Damage to reproductive organs can cause lifelong issues like infertility or cervical/ovarian cancer. Always take the time to talk to a doctor and do the proper tests before entering a hasty abortion decision.
Certain things can put you at a higher risk for an ectopic pregnancy. If you fall into any of these categories, it is important to discuss them with your healthcare provider.
-A Previous Ectopic Pregnancy. If it happened once, it is more likely to happen again.
-STD/STI. Because STD’s and STI’s cause inflammation in the tubes or reproductive organs, the chances of tubal pregnancy are higher.
-Fertility Treatments or Struggles With Infertility. If you have ever had an IVF treatment or if you have struggled to get pregnant, this also increases your risk.
-Previous Tubal Surgery.
-Choice of Birth Control. Getting pregnant while on certain birth controls can increase the risk for ectopic pregnancy. Tell your doctor immediately if you have a positive pregnancy test with an inserted IUD. If you are making an appointment with a pregnancy resource center for an ultrasound, tell your ultrasound technician that you have an IUD, as well.
-Smoking. Smoking has been associated with thousands of conditions, and it even affects your reproductive system.
How To Avoid An Ectopic Pregnancy
Unfortunately, you can’t stop an ectopic pregnancy any more than you can stop a miscarriage. Non-viable pregnancies are random happenstances in life that are out of our control and science just can’t explain them fully.
While there is nothing science has found that can prevent ectopic pregnancy, there are things you can do to help your body potentially avoid it. Doing these things can’t stop a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, but they can help your reproductive system run smoothly and recover faster from a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Limit your sexual partners. Statistically and medically we now know that the safest way to prevent a non-viable pregnancy is to be in a monogamous relationship with one person. This is the healthiest lifestyle to prevent unwanted disease, infections, emotional trauma, and can reduce the risk of pelvic inflammatory diseases connected with non-viable pregnancy.
Stop Smoking Cigarettes And Don’t Consume Illicit Drugs. It’s important to avoid smoking for millions of reasons, your reproductive function being one of them. Smoking has a direct impact on your internal organs.
Stay Healthy: eat good food, drink water, limit alcohol, participate in hobbies, exercise, and maintaining a social circle all keep your body functioning at its peak performance.
Get Your Yearly Examinations. Seeing your doctor yearly, getting routine blood work, and screening for risk factors is the best way to avoid disease and to stay functioning at your peak performance!
If you have more questions or need more support with a pregnancy, click to go to the BOOK NOW PAGE to make a free appointment!