Ectopic pregnancies have been heavily debated in this post-Roe world. Abortion providers in the United States and around the world have growing concerns about access to abortion and care associated with abortion. The Anti-Choice Movement has concerns about the treatment of ectopic pregnancies, considering the removal of a tubal pregnancy the same as having an abortion. Marie Stopes South Africa has gathered everything you need to know about ectopic pregnancies, including why treating these abnormal pregnancies are an essential component of reproductive healthcare.
What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy, also know as a tubal pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube, instead of making it’s way to the uterus. The condition is not very common but does require treatment when diagnosed. There are complications associated with untreated ectopic pregnancies.
What are the symptoms associated with an ectopic pregnancy?
Ectopic pregnancy symptoms to look out for include sharp abdominal cramps, pain on one side of your lower abdomen, dizziness, and weakness that occur during the first trimester of pregnancy.
How is an Ectopic Pregnancy diagnosed?
An Ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed through a transvaginal ultrasound. The scan is carried out by inserting a small probe into the vagina. If your pregnancy test is positive but your healthcare provider is not able to see the pregnancy in the uterus on an ultrasound scan, you may be referred to a higher facility to exclude an ectopic pregnancy.
How is an Ectopic Pregnancy treated?
In some cases, an ectopic pregnancy is treated with medication to stop the pregnancy from growing. In other cases, surgery is the safest way to remove the tubal pregnancy as well the damaged fallopian tube.
Is normal pregnancy possible after an Ectopic Pregnancy?
It is possible to have a normal pregnancy after having an ectopic pregnancy. Having an ectopic pregnancy is not likely to affect future possibilities of falling pregnant. However, where medication is used to treat the ectopic pregnancy, the medication can cause harm to a fetus, and it is therefore advisable to use reliable contraception for three months after treatment, before falling pregnant again.
Is removing an ectopic pregnancy the same as having an abortion?
Anti- Choice ideologists have strong opinions regarding ectopic pregnancies and whether treatment of this condition can be considered an abortion. This is unfortunately extremely dangerous, as an ectopic pregnancies is an abnormal pregnancy and if left untreated will usually result in death of the pregnant woman. While treatment of an ectopic pregnancy can in very strict definitions be considered a type of abortion, the treatment should rather be considered a medical necessity.
If you are experiencing symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, please visit your healthcare provider for a check-up as soon as possible.