Sciences/Anatomy/Nursing - What is Ectopic Pregnancy? (Explination, Diagnoses, Treatment, Sources)

Essay by jared_rx7University, Bachelor'sA-, October 2004

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Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic (or tubal) pregnancy is a condition that affects women all over the world everyday. Ectopic means "out of place". An ectopic pregnancy is an instance where a fertilized egg settles and grows in any location other than the inner lining of the uterus. The vast majority of ectopic pregnancies occur in the ampullary (mid) portion of the fallopian tubes (about 95%), however they can occur in other locations such as the cervix, ovary and abdominal cavity. Any growing pregnancy requires a large nutrient source (blood supply) and develops many communications with the mother's vascular system (blood vessels). The uterus is uniquely designed to accommodate this development, so that when a pregnancy begins to grow in other surrounding structures the vascular communication may be inadequate. (Daiter). The risk for mother and baby is so great that these pregnancies are usually terminated in some kind of way.

Many women who have had an ectopic pregnancy before stand a chance of having another.

The recurrence rate is 15% after the first and 30% after the second ectopic pregnancy. (Burns, 10). Also, women who have had a history of pelvic infections or prior surgery to the fallopian tubes are known to be at high risk. Pelvic infections are usually caused by sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. Non-sexually transmitted bacteria can also cause pelvic infections and increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. The egg can get stuck in the fallopian tube if an infection damages the cilia, which helps the egg "flow" to the uterus. If this is the case, the egg cannot be transported to the uterus and implants in the fallopian tube where the pregnancy then occurs. Infection-related scarring and blockage of the fallopian tube can also prevent the egg from reaching the uterus. Another known...