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When a woman has damaged fallopian tubes, it increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy, also called tubal pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg is unable to pass to the uterus, so the embryo grows in the fallopian tube instead. This happens in one out of every 40 or 50 pregnancies and is most likely to occur around the eight week of pregnancy.
Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
The symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may initially feel like symptoms of a normal pregnancy, but can quickly change. Symptoms include:
- vaginal bleeding
- sharp or stabbing abdominal cramps
- pain on one side of the body that may spread through your belly
- dizziness, weakness or fainting
If you have these symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, see a doctor immediately! The major health risk of ectopic pregnancy is that the tube will rupture and lead to internal bleeding. You may need emergency surgery to reduce the risk of heavy bleeding (hemorrhaging) if the tube ruptures. Ectopic pregnancy is a leading cause of pregnancy-related death; however survival rates have drastically improved due to advances in early detection.
An ectopic pregnancy cannot be saved. If the tube has not burst and the pregnancy hasn’t progressed very far, you may only need laparoscopic surgery to remove the embryo and repair the damage. If, however, the tube has ruptured, it may have to be removed.
Pregnancy after Ectopic Pregnancy
You can have a normal pregnancy after an ectopic pregnancy. If you still have both fallopian tubes, you have a 60 percent chance of having a successful pregnancy in the future. Even if one fallopian tube was removed, the remaining one should be enough to let you get pregnant again. Your doctor may suggest you wait from three to six months before trying to conceive.
Even if you have problems with your fallopian tubes, it is possible to become pregnant Surgery can help by removing a blockage, reconstructing the damaged end of a tube or removing scar tissue. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is another way of trying to become pregnant. This advanced reproductive technology doesn’t repair the tubes but bypasses them by transferring the embryo directly into the uterus.