An ectopic pregnancy is a problem pregnancy where the egg develops outside of the uterus. In most cases, the egg settles in one of the fallopian tubes. Once this happens, there are questions about conceiving after an ectopic pregnancy.
Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy
It is often difficult for a woman to recognize the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, because she may not even know she is expecting. One of the first symptoms is spotting or vaginal bleeding two weeks after a missed period. Six weeks after the missed period, she may suffer abdominal pain on just one side of the abdominal area. Other symptoms may be light-headedness and shoulder pain on the same side as the abdominal pain.
Damage caused by an ectopic pregnancy
Many times after a woman has had an ectopic pregnancy, her fallopian tube is removed, blocked, damaged or scarred. The tube where the egg settled may have already been damaged and that may have caused the egg to get stuck before it reached the uterus. The ectopic pregnancy may have damaged the inner lining of the fallopian tube where it took place.
Possibility of a successful pregnancy
If a woman has an ectopic pregnancy that does not rupture, there is an 80 percent possibility that after tubal-sparing surgery, she will heal normally and her tubes will be open. There is a 6 to 1 ratio that she will have a normal intrauterine pregnancy. However, if the tubes are normal, the possibility of a normal pregnancy rises to 10 to 1.
After tubal-sparing surgery, a woman will have a delivery rate of approximately 55 percent. The possibility that she will be infertile is roughly 30 percent. She also has a 15 percent chance of having another ectopic pregnancy.
When a woman loses one of her fallopian tubes or one of them is blocked, the delivery rate is 45 percent. She has a 20 percent risk of having another ectopic pregnancy. The possibility of her being infertile is 35 percent.
If a woman has more than one ectopic pregnancy and has conservative surgery with each one, the infertility rate jumps to 50 percent. She has a 25 percent possibility of having another ectopic pregnancy. The delivery rate is 25 percent. The more ectopic pregnancies a woman has, the less possibility she has of a live birth delivery.
Conceiving after ectopic pregnancy
After an ectopic pregnancy, it is best for a woman to wait for several months to allow the damaged area to heal before attempting to become pregnant. She must realize that she is at high risk for another ectopic pregnancy. If she still wants another child, she should try on her own to become pregnant. If it does not work, she has the possibility of in vitro fertilization.
In vitro fertilization
Once a woman has had an ectopic pregnancy, her best possibility of a normal pregnancy is to use in vitro fertilization (IVF). This is especially true if she has had more than one. With IVF, the pregnancy success rate is excellent, especially for younger women. A woman only has a 3 percent possibility of having an ectopic pregnancy with IVF.