Marla Ahlgrimm: Ectopic Pregnancy Life Threatening

Marla AhlgrimmA normal pregnancy results when a fertilized egg develops inside the uterus. When that fails to happen, the pregnancy is referred to as ectopic. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, an ectopic pregnancy is not viable and poses an immediate risk to the life of the mother.

Most ectopic pregnancies take place in the fallopian tubes; however, they may occur in an ovary or, rarely, on another organ. Signs of ectopic pregnancy can mimic other conditions, asserts Marla Ahlgrimm. Vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain of any kind, weakness, fainting, or shoulder pain are all signs of a possible ectopic pregnancy in women of childbearing age. These symptoms may arise before pregnancy is even suspected.

Risk factors for ectopic pregnancy include uterine infection, prior ectopic pregnancy, previous pelvic surgery, certain STDs, infertility, and tubal ligation or other tubal surgeries. Cigarette smoking and advanced maternal age also increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Marla Ahlgrimm further reports that women who were exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic hormone used until 1971 to treat a number of reproductive conditions, are more prone to ectopic pregnancies.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that an ectopic pregnancy is easy to diagnose with modern ultrasound equipment, hCG tests, and a pelvic exam. There are two forms of treatment for ectopic pregnancy, which cannot be carried to term and must be terminated. Medication may stop the growth from developing further and will allow the body to naturally absorb the tissue over time. Laparoscopic surgery can remove the developing tissue if the ectopic pregnancy is caught early enough. If the cells have grown beyond a certain point, a more invasive abdominal surgery is needed.

Many women who experience an ectopic pregnancy subsequently become pregnant and carry to term, says Marla Ahlgrimm. She cautions, however, that one ectopic pregnancy increases a woman’s risk of another.

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