Apr 6, 2014
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ECTOPIC PREGNANCY

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An ectopic pregnancy most commonly develops in one of the FALLOPIAN TUBES. Occasionally it may occur in one of the OVARIES, and rarely in the uterine cervix or the abdominal cavity. Around one in 200 pregnant women have an ectopic gestation. As pregnancy proceeds, surrounding tissues may be damaged and, if serious bleeding happens, the woman may present as an ‘abdominal emergency’. A life-threatening condition, this needs urgent surgery. Most women recover satisfactorily and can have further pregnancies despite the removal of one Fallopian tube as a result of the ectopic gestation. Death is unusual. This disorder of pregnancy may occur because infection or a previous abdominal injury or operation may have damaged the normal descent of an ovum from the ovary to the womb. The first symptoms usually appear during the first two months of pregnancy, perhaps before the woman realises she is pregnant. Severe lower abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding are common presenting symptoms. Ultrasound can be used to diagnose the condition and laparoscopy can be used to remove the products of conception. (See PREGNANCY AND LABOUR.)

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Medical Dictionary

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