What is an ectopic pregnancy?

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 7:21 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, some people are concerned about that this ruling means for the future of pregnancies where the fetus could put the mother’s life at risk, such as ectopic pregnancies.

Health officials report that roughly one out of 50 pregnancies is ectopic. OBGYN Dr. Jorge Salvidor says these type of pregnancies occur when an egg fertilizes outside of the uterus. He says around 96 percent of the time this occurs, it’s because an egg is stuck in the fallopian tubes.

In the tube, it doesn’t allow enough room to expand so it ruptures. This can become a life-threatening emergency for a woman. If untreated, it could lead to death.

Salvidor says there are two ways to treat this type of pregnancy.

“If caught early enough, we can treat it with an injection and a chemo-therapeutic agent and it acts on the cells within the tissue. So, if you detect a pregnancy very, very, very early on, you can treat it just by giving them one shot. That’s the antidote. If they’re more advanced and they’re already bleeding internally and the uterus is ruptured, then you have to do surgery,” he said.

KSLA asked Salvidor if the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling could play a role in the way ectopic pregnancies are treated.

“I have no problems now. In the state of Texas, you can quote un quote ‘perform an abortion if it’s going to be a life-threatening emergency for the mom.’ You just have to document it, and that’s during an abortion, we’re not even talking about ectopic pregnancies. They don’t even mention ectopic pregnancies. When 99.9 percent of ectopic pregnancies are detected, there’s no heartbeat so that law would not even apply whatsoever,” he said.

Officials with the Mayo Clinic also say there’s no way to prevent an ectopic pregnancy. However, they say you can decrease your risk by not smoking and limiting your number of sexual partners.

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