What is an ectopic pregnancy?
It is when the fertilized egg implants or attaches someplace other than the uterus, most often in the fallopian tube. Most ectopic pregnancies can be detected using the blood test, pelvic exam, and ectopic pregnancy ultrasound or pregnancy sonogram. If you have symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, you will have the following exams.
1. A pelvic ectopic pregnancy ultrasound, either abdominal or transvaginal, using sound waves to produce a picture of the structure and organs in the lower abdomen. Transvaginal ultrasound is used to show where pregnancy is located. How early can ectopic pregnancy be detected by ultrasound? 6 weeks after the last menstrual period, pregnancy in the uterus will begin to appear. Ectopic pregnancy is likely if there are no signs of embryo or fetus in the uterus as expected, but hCG levels increase.
2. A pelvic exam which can detect the mass in the pelvic area, less enlargement of the uterus than expected for pregnancy, and tenderness in the uterus or fallopian tubes.
3. Twice or more blood tests of the hormone levels of pregnancy (human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG). This test is taken 48 hours apart. hCG level doubles every 2 days during the early weeks of normal pregnancy. Low or slowly elevated hCG levels in the blood show early abnormal pregnancy, such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Further, a test has to be done to find the cause if hCG levels are not normal. That’s the ectopic pregnancy ultrasound vs normal pregnancy.
For ectopic pregnancy, sometimes surgical procedure using laparoscopy is performed. With laparoscopy, ectopic pregnancy after 5 weeks can usually be diagnosed and treated. However, because ectopic pregnancy ultrasound and blood pregnancy tests are very accurate to diagnose early ectopic pregnancy, the laparoscopy is not often used. You can see ectopic pregnancy images.
I. Follow- Up Testing After Treatment
Your levels of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the blood is tested several times during a week after doing treatment for ectopic pregnancy. Your doctor will look for a decrease in hCG levels. The decrease in hCG is a sign that pregnancy is over. During the first few days of treatment, hCG sometimes increase, then go down. In some cases, hCG testing continues for several weeks to months. This continues until the levels of hCG drop too low levels.
II. What To Think About
You will be closely monitored if you are pregnant and at high risk for ectopic pregnancy. The doctor will monitor which risk factors are serious enough to be noticed. However, a research shows that the risk is serious if you have fallopian tube problems, have DES exposure before birth, or have had a tubal surgery or an ectopic pregnancy before.
A home pregnancy test or urine pregnancy test can accurately diagnose pregnancy. However, it cannot detect whether it is an ectopic pregnancy. The further blood test or ectopic pregnancy ultrasound is required to diagnose the ectopic pregnancy if the urine pregnancy test confirms pregnancy, and an ectopic pregnancy is suspected.
In most cases, ectopic pregnancy is quickly treated to avoid severe blood loss and rupture. The decision about which treatment to use depends on your overall condition and how early the pregnancy is detected. For an early ectopic pregnancy that does not cause bleeding, you may have a choice between performing surgery or taking medications to terminate the pregnancy.
Taking methotrexate to end the ectopic pregnancy spares you from a general anesthetic and an incision. However, it may take several weeks of hormone-level tests to ensure treatment has been successful and also cause side effects. Methotrexate is most likely to work when the embryo has no cardiac activity and when your pregnancy hormone levels, human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG, is low.
Surgery is usually necessary if you have an ectopic pregnancy that causes severe symptoms, high levels of hCG, and bleeding. This is because rupture becomes more likely as time passes and medications tend not to work. If it is possible, laparoscopic surgery using a small incision should be performed. And, emergency surgery is needed for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.
That’s the review of the ectopic pregnancy ultrasound. You can see the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy before you perform this ultrasound exam. Or, if you want the simpler procedure, you can download pregnancy ultrasound app.