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Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy

There are many conditions that occur during pregnancy, one of the many is called an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a condition that happens when the fertilized ovum is implanted outside the uterine cavity where it should normally be. This is one of the most dangerous pregnancy conditions a woman can have, due to the fact that if left untreated, it can cause a rupture and as a result have severe blood loss which can lead to death. Although it is extremely dangerous, it is also very uncommon and only happens in “…about 2 out of every 100 pregnancies,” according to the Planned Parenthood organization. An ectopic pregnancy can take place in the ovary, abdominal cavity or the lower part of the uterus (cervix), but the most common place for this to happen is in the fallopian tubes.

Out of all places an ectopic pregnancy can occur, 95% of pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes which is also called a tubal pregnancy. Since the fertilized egg is located in the fallopian tube, a hollow tube that transports the ovum from the ovary to the uterus, it will not survive for long because the ovum does not have enough room or enough blood supply to develop, therefore the ovum must be removed. If it is left untreated and continues to grow it is most likely to rupture and cause severe internal bleeding which is why this type of pregnancy cannot continue through the whole term of pregnancy. The removal process of the ovum and/or fallopian tube can be treated by the use of medication, laparoscopic surgery or abdominal surgery. The nurse’s role would be to observe for hypovolemic shock since the patient can experience large amounts of bleeding and assess the vital signs and temperature for signs of infection. The nurse cam also incorporate guided imagery into the care of the grieving mother and family by assisting in ways to cope like soothing music, drawing, or relaxation techniques. Although the doctors try to preserve the tube, most of the times its inevitable since the rupture can cause too much damage and must be removed. This can cause an emotional strain on the patient, especially if the patient wants to still have children. It is the nurses role to provide emotional support and privacy to the patient as well as the family and understand that the family will need time to grieve their loss.

There is not a definite way to prevent an ectopic pregnancy from happening, but some early symptoms to be aware of during your pregnancy are pelvic pain and light vaginal bleeding. Not all women will experience bleeding but the patient will have continuous abdominal pain and an urge to have a bowel movement. When these symptoms arise, including shoulder pain, it is likely that blood is leaking from the fallopian tubes and should seek medical attention immediately because severe bleeding can cause a shock.

Some factors that put a woman at risk of having an ectopic pregnancy are any previous ectopic pregnancies, inflammation or infection in the cervix, fertility treatments, previous tubal surgery, and smoking. The only way to try and minimize the risk would be to keep your number of sexual partners to a minimum, always use a condom to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, and if you are a smoker it is advised you quit before attempting getting pregnant.

Pregnancy itself is a scary process, having complications simply adds to the anxiousness. Ectopic pregnancies are not common but unfortunately 95% of the cases that do arise occur in the fallopian tubes which is why symptoms should be notified to the doctor immediately, if possible, to prevent or minimize the dangerous and severe outcomes of this condition.


Ectopic pregnancy. (2018, May 22). Retrieved from

Leifer, G. (2014). Introduction to maternity and pediatric nursing. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Parenthood, P. (n.d.). What Is Ectopic Pregnancy? | Definition and Treatment. Retrieved from


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Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy


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