Miscarriages are a sad and common reality for millions of women. Ectopic pregnancies are much rarer but are life-threatening to the baby and mother. For this reason, an ectopic pregnancy almost always involves ending the baby’s life because of its inability to survive and the threat the condition has on the mother. Are there other similarities between ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages? How are they different? Read on to find out.
WHAT IS ECTOPIC PREGNANCY?
An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg implants into somewhere in the reproductive tract other than the uterus. This includes the ovaries and most often the fallopian tubes. If the egg implants in the fallopian tubes and begins to develop, the environment is not able to support the growth and eventually can burst, resulting in internal bleeding. This makes it life-threatening for both baby and mother, and surgery is required to save the mother’s life.
WHAT IS A MISCARRIAGE?
The simple definition of miscarriage is when a baby dies in the womb. The term miscarriage technically refers to pregnancy losses before 16-20 weeks. However, stillbirths are losses that occur in the latter half of pregnancy but are still classified as miscarriages. A majority of miscarriages occur in the first trimester due to genetic disorders and other factors. Infections and other issues can also play a role, but most of the time, there are no known causes for miscarriages.
ECTOPIC VS. MISCARRIAGE
One of the biggest similarities between miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies is of course the loss of a baby. There is a grieving process for both circumstances. Also, the majority of miscarriages occur in the first trimester, as do ectopic pregnancies. Both ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages can involve a significant amount of pain and bleeding. Miscarriages are not usually life-threatening but rarely complications can occur.
Many of the signs of an impending miscarriage are the same for ectopic pregnancy rupture. For example, heavy bleeding and severe abdominal pain in the first trimester always requires a visit to the doctor. This is also one of the reasons we offer free ultrasounds, because it’s important to know the viability and placement of a pregnancy. As many as 1 in 3 women of childbearing age experience miscarriage, but the rate for ectopic pregnancies is much lower. However, an ultrasound can help detect potential concerns early on.
If an ectopic pregnancy ruptures in the fallopian tube, you will have to undergo surgery. The pregnancy is usually terminated to prevent internal bleeding. Undergoing and recovering from both ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages can often be traumatic for many women and require time and support to help them process the grief. While both ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages are different, they have similar factors in terms of contributing to grief, and physical and emotional loss.
Recently pregnant and want to know if you’re at risk for an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage? Schedule a free ultrasound at Clearway Clinic today.