Unfortunately, the baby cannot be saved in an ectopic pregnancy. Treatment isusually needed to remove the pregnancy before it grows too large.
The main treatment options are:
These options each have advantages and disadvantages that your doctor will discuss with you.
They'll recommend what they think is the most suitable option for you, depending on factors such as your symptoms, the size of the pregnancy and the level of pregnancy hormone (humanchorionic gonadotropin or hCG) in your blood.
Ifyou have no symptoms or mild symptoms and the pregnancy is very small or can't be found, you may only need to be closely monitored, becausethere's a good chance the pregnancy will dissolve by itself.
This is known as expectant management and the following is likely to happen:
The main advantage of monitoring is that you won't experience any side effects of treatment. A disadvantage is that there's still a small risk of your fallopian tubes splitting open (rupturing) and you may eventually need treatment.
If an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed early but active monitoring isn't suitable, treatment with a medicine called methotrexate may be recommended.
Thisworks by stopping the pregnancy from growing and is given as a single injection into your buttocks.
You won't need to stay in hospitalafter treatment, but regular blood tests will becarried outto check if the treatment is working. A second dose is sometimes needed and surgery (see below) may be necessary if it doesn't work.
You need to use reliable contraception for at least three months after treatment, because methotrexate can be harmful for a baby if you become pregnant during this time.
It's also important to avoid alcohol until you're told it's safe, as drinking soon after receiving a dose of methotrexate can damage your liver.
Other side effects ofmethotrexate include:
There's also a chance of your fallopian tubes rupturing after treatment. You'll be told what to look out for and whatto do if you think this has happened.
In most cases, keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) will be carried out to remove the pregnancy before itbecomes too large.
During a laparoscopy:
Removing the affected fallopian tubeis the most effective treatment and isn't thought to reduce your chances of becoming pregnant again. Your doctor will discuss this with you beforehand and you'll be asked whether you consent to havingthe tube removed.
Most women can leave hospital a few days after surgery, although it can take four to six weeks tofully recover.
If your fallopian tube has already ruptured, you'll need emergency surgery. The surgeon will make a larger incision in yourtummy (laparotomy)to stop the bleeding and repair your fallopian tube, if that is possible.
After either type of surgery,a treatment calledanti-D rhesus prophylaxis will be givenif your blood type is RhD negative (see blood groups for more information). This involves an injection of a medicine that helps to prevent rhesus disease in future pregnancies.
<p>An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.</p>
Read about the main signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, including vaginal bleeding, tummy pain and pain in the tip of your shoulder.
Read about the tests you might have to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy, including a transvaginal ultrasound scan, blood tests and a minor operation.