Postpartum Care: What to Expect
Postpartum Care

I’ve had the baby, now what?

The postpartum period after having a baby is an exciting and exhausting part of life.  There are so many changes, both physically and emotionally, that are happening to you and your body. So how do you take care of yourself?

Vaginal Birth
If you’ve had a vaginal birth, you most likely have stitches/sutures somewhere on your perineum.  Using a peri bottle to squeeze warm water over your perineum when you urinate and placing witch hazel pads along your pad will help relieve the discomfort.  Your vaginal bleeding can last anywhere from 2-6 weeks. Your flow can change depending on your activity level and if you are nursing your baby.

C-Section Birth
If you’ve had a C-section, it is important to keep a close eye on your incision. Your vaginal bleeding can last anywhere from 2-6 weeks as well. Keeping the incision dry and clean is important for the healing process.  If you start to notice and redness, discharge or concentrated warmth around your incision area, you need to call your doctor.

When to resume sex
Regardless of what type of birth you’ve had, it is important not to resume sexual intercourse until your doctor says it is ok. It’s important to let your body heal from this change its just gone through.  It is also important to monitor your vaginal bleeding.   If you start to have heavy bleeding (which would be saturating a pad in one hour; 2 hours in a row) or if your vaginal discharge has a foul odor, it is important to call your doctor.

Emotional Changes
Another change to watch out for is your emotional state of mind. It is normal to have a roller coaster of emotions after having a baby.  Your hormones can take months to balance themselves out.  It is normal to have anxiety, sadness and irritability for the first couple weeks.  However, if your symptoms of depression persist, it is important to contact your doctor. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you are experiencing postpartum depression.  Your doctor is there to help you.

Help is ok!
Don’t be afraid to accept help from other people.  Having a baby is a big life change and its ok to have people support, help and guide you along the way.

For more information visit these website :
www.mayoclinic.org
www.womenshealth.gov

Additional article from Advice & Aid:
Dealing with Postpartum Depression


It’s important that if you are experiencing postpartum symptoms that you feel may be out of the ordinary – or if you have questions or concerns at all – that you have someone you can talk to.

Your doctor is always a great place to start. But if for some reason you aren’t ready to discuss your concerns with your doctor, feel free to make an appointment with us. We have a trained and licensed nurse on staff at all times.

Sometimes, simply talking over your concerns with someone who both understands and has the medical knowledge you need is exactly what can put your mind at ease!

What Are The Signs of Early Pregnancy?
Early Pregnancy Signs

Experiencing some early pregnancy signs?
Thinking you may be pregnant? 

Earliest Sign
There are signs and symptoms of early pregnancy that many women experience, some even experiencing them just days after the first missed period. Some signs, such as implantation bleeding (6-12 days after conception) happen even before a woman misses her period. Cramping may or may not occur during implantation, and many women hardly notice discomfort at all.

Tender Breasts
Another common symptom of early pregnancy is breast tenderness and/or swelling. This tenderness is caused by rising hormone levels and can be similar to how your breasts feel just before a period. Some women describe the sensation as “fullness” in their breasts. Often, these symptoms diminish after the first trimester, when the body adjusts to the hormonal changes.

Fatigue
Many women feel fatigue and tiredness early on in their pregnancies. Oftentimes, this is the first noticeable sign. If you have missed a period and just cannot seem to shake your fatigue, even after plenty of rest, you may be pregnant. The fatigue usually subsides into the second trimester, but may return in the third trimester.

Mood Swings
Mood swings are common for many women early in their pregnancy. As the body tries to adjust to rising hormone levels, many women find they don’t sleep as well as usual. Increased urination and frequency is also common and may cause wakefulness at night, contributing to fatigue and moodiness.

Nausea
Many women begin to have food aversions, increased salivation, or nausea and vomiting.  This can start anywhere from two weeks after conception until a month or two after a missed period.  For many women, these symptoms subside after the first trimester, but for a small percentage of women, the vomiting can be severe. A few lucky women never have issues with nausea at all.

Missed Period
For a large number of women, a missed period is the first sign that pregnancy may indeed have occurred. A home pregnancy test may not detect pregnancy until about a week after a missed period, so if you are having pregnancy symptoms AND have missed a period, you may need to repeat a pregnancy test. Women who track their periods and record the days upon which their periods start may notice a missed period faster, even in the absence of any pregnancy symptoms.

Frequent Urination
Another common symptom of pregnancy is frequent urination, as mentioned above. A woman’s blood volume increases dramatically over the course of her pregnancy, requiring the kidneys to filter more blood, thus increasing urine output. Many women note having to awaken at night to use the restroom, whereas it was rare before the pregnancy. Having to get up in the middle of the night contributes to the fatigue that many women experience in early pregnancy. Taking a nap during the day, if possible, can help combat the fatigue. Do not feel guilty about taking that nap! You will need to pay close attention to your body now and in the coming months as you prepare for the arrival of your new baby.

The above information came from the following:
AmericanPregnancy.org
BabyCenter.com
HealthLine.com
MayClinic.org
ACOG.org


For more articles on pregnancy from Advice & Aid:
What’s the First Step After a Positive Pregnancy Test?
Can I Count on the Accuracy of a Home Pregnancy Test?
The Info You Need on Plan B


Maybe it’s planned and well-anticipated . . . maybe it’s a complete shock and wasn’t in the plans at all. But if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s absolutely vital that you know for sure. Either way . . . you need to know.

Home tests can be hard to read sometimes. That’s why we provide medical-grade pregnancy tests here, along with a nurse, to help you not only get clear results, but to begin discussing your options and information.

The best part? It’s all at no financial cost to you.

Think you might be pregnant? Start with an easy-to-make appointment with us. No agenda . . . No judgment . . . Just helpful answers and options.

It’s the best first-step you can take!

Dealing with Postpartum Depression
Postpartum Depression

Information and statistics on postpartum depression are taken from UpToDate, an evidence based medical database for health professionals. The following article was written by a medial student who volunteers their time at Advice & Aid.

What, exactly, is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression, according to the World Health Organization, is defined as depression occurring up to 6 weeks after delivery. However, according to other sources, it may occur up to as much as one year after delivery.  Postpartum depression is different from “the baby blues.” These occur within the first few days after childbirth and quickly resolve within 2 weeks. Postpartum depression is not the same – its symptoms are more sever and typically last longer than the “blues.”

How common is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression occurs in approximately 9% of women, and is usually higher in middle/low income countries. Depression is not always found postpartum, and may also show up during pregnancy. The majority of women find that this depression occurs about one month after delivery. Risk factors include previous diagnosis of depression, high levels of stress after the baby is born, poor social/financial support during pregnancy, young age, intimate partner violence, poor physical health, difficulty breastfeeding, and difficult infant temperament. We don’t know why postpartum depression happens, but many doctors believe it is due to the large amount of hormone changes following delivery.

What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
The symptoms of postpartum depression are important to be able to recognize. They include:
* Trouble sleeping
* Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
* Feelings of guilt
* Low energy
* Inability to concentrate
* Changes in appetite
* Changes in motor activity
* Suicidal thoughts or feelings
Untreated, this may resolve on its own, or it may develop into a chronic course of depression. Another symptom is having feelings of wanting to harm the baby, even if you wouldn’t act on this feeling. This disease impairs your function as a mother, can interfere with breastfeeding and mother-child bonding, and disturb other relationships.

What to do if you suspect Postpart Depression
Treatment for postpartum depression includes counseling and antidepressant medications if needed. It is important to tell your health provider or go to the emergency room immediately if you ever feel like you want to end you or your baby’s life. It’s also good to get into the habit of taking time for yourself to assess your emotions and how you are handling taking care of a newborn. If the baby won’t stop crying, it is okay to put the baby down in a safe place (like their crib), walk away and take a few deep breaths. Many mothers feel overwhelmed and stressed with a newborn, likely due to lack of sleep. But if you feel like your stress is more than that or you are having overwhelming feelings of sadness, call your doctor or go to the emergency room.  You may also call the National Suicide Depression Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, available 24 hours a day. Postpartum depression is a treatable condition, and you will feel better if you seek help.


For more articles on Pregnancy Education, click here.


If you, or someone you know, is struggling with postpartum depression, it’s important to know that, first, you’re not alone in this. Many women have struggled with this as well. And they came through it.

Also, it’s important to know that you don’t have to suffer alone. Maybe you aren’t comfortable talking with your health care provider . . . But you DO need to talk to someone. Start with us. We have licensed health care providers here that can meet with you. And we completely understand the real struggle that you are facing.

Just click make an appointment at a time that works best for you.

It’s the absolute best thing you can do for yourself right now!

Spring Break’s Over – Are You Left With An Unexpected Surprise?
Spring Break - Possibly Pregnant?

Spring Break – that well deserved time off from school, when the temps change and you head out for some fun!

This is pretty much the best thing to happen during the entire Spring Semester. It gives you a whole week to hang out with your friends. This is the chance to catch up with people you haven’t seen in awhile. Often, it’s the chance to spend a whole, uninterrupted week with your boyfriend (or maybe even get a new boyfriend).

And whether your boyfriend is in school with you, or he’s been away at college and is back for Spring Break, you can actually spend some quality time with him. Spring Break allows the two of you – for one week – to feel unburdened. No classes. No schedule. No homework. Just fun together. And if you had the chance to get away with him to the beach, it was a week of fun in the sun.

But now that you are back, maybe you are starting to worry that the week spent with your boyfriend was just a little too much “fun.” Maybe for the first time, you went further with him than ever before. And now, you are worried that there might be an extra “surprise” to deal with.

Pregnancy … During Spring Break, it was probably the last thing on your mind. But now you can’t stop thinking about it.
“Am I pregnant?”
“The unusual way I’m feeling these days, could that be pregnancy?”
“Is my period ever going to start?”

You are doing your best to wrap your mind around this fact . . .
You might be pregnant!

And let’s face it. Home pregnancy tests can be completely hard to rely on. Either they show such a faint line that you aren’t sure if it’s really there. Or you worry that you didn’t do it right and the results aren’t accurate.

That’s where we come in. We are Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers. Our whole reason for being here is to help you figure this all out – beginning with a free pregnancy test. You won’t have to be alone. You can have someone with you when you find out for sure. This way, you can talk it through with someone who understands. We offer all kinds of services for you that will truly help you sort out your options.

And maybe the thought of picking up the phone and calling us is just too much right now. That’s ok. All you have to do is click on the button below and you can schedule an appointment through our website without having to talk to anyone today. You can choose from either Overland Park or Shawnee – a place that is close to you.

You can put the unknown behind you and
start to take control of your future right away!


Need help tracking all of the important “dates” that a girl needs to know about? Check out the Advice & Aid app. Here, you can keep track of your period, along with finding valuable information that you need to know.

It’s a free download. Check it out today!
(Currently, only available for iPhone)

What’s the First Step After a Positive Pregnancy Test?
First Step After Positive Pregnancy Test

It’s a positive pregnancy test, now what?

That positive pregnancy test is just the beginning – there is more information you need to have before deciding what you want to do in regards to your pregnancy. A limited sonogram will determine if the gestational sac (or pregnancy) is inside the uterus, how far along your pregnancy currently is, and if the pregnancy is viable or a fetal heartbeat is present. Without this information, a decision may be made regarding the future of your pregnancy that is not necessary.

An ectopic pregnancy is occurs when a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus. Since it is not in the uterus, an ectopic pregnancy cannot grow as it should and must be treated. As the pregnancy progresses, it can cause the fallopian tube to rupture or burst. If this happens, major internal bleeding may occur. This can be life threatening to the mother and needs to be treated with surgery.  If the tube has not yet ruptured, it can be treated in some instances with medication or repaired. Any woman who wants to have children will want to keep her fallopian tube so she can have a family in the future. If the tube has already ruptured, it may need to be removed. The remaining tube will be the sole means for possible pregnancies in the future. Early intervention via ultrasound is important to determine if the pregnancy is inside the uterus or to rule out ectopic pregnancy.

There are factors that increase the chance of an ectopic pregnancy occurring for women. However, any woman of childbearing age is at risk. Approximately 1 in 50 pregnancies is ectopic. Any woman with abnormal fallopian tubes is at an increased risk. These may be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, history of ectopic pregnancies, history of sexually transmitted infection(s), pelvic or abdominal surgery, endometriosis, infertility, or prior tubal surgery (such as tubal sterilization or ligation). Some of these conditions may produce scar tissue in the tubes which can prevent the fertilized egg from reaching the uterus. Other risk factors include cigarette smoking, increased age or exposure to the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) during her mother’s pregnancy.

An ultrasound will also determine the gestational age of a pregnancy (how far along the pregnancy currently is). It can also determine if the pregnancy is viable (a fetal heartbeat is present). Approximately 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. The majority of miscarriages occur in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. There are many reasons a miscarriage may occur. Some miscarriages can be attributed to chromosomal abnormalities, which often happen by chance and are not likely to occur again in a later pregnancy. Another factor that may contribute to a miscarriage is an infection of the uterus, mother’s chronic disease (for example, uncontrolled diabetes), problems with the uterus or cervix, and lifestyle factors of the mother (for example, smoking, heavy alcohol use, or illegal drug use).

There are a few warning signals for miscarriage. Please contact your doctor or go to the Emergency Department if you are pregnant and experience spotting or bleeding without pain, heavy or persistent bleeding accompanied by abdominal pain or cramping, gush of fluid but no pain or bleeding, or you have passed fetal tissue. It is important to be evaluated and examined in each of these circumstances by a medical professional for a medical diagnosis and to determine if and when treatment is needed.

Before making any decision regarding your pregnancy, an ultrasound is absolutely crucial.


If you have taken a pregnancy test and it is positive, but you don’t know where to turn for the next steps, let us help. We offer medical-grade pregnancy testing, limited sonograms, and additional resources.

You don’t have to be alone through this!

Book An Appointment Now Button - Home Page


Sources for this article:
www.aium.org     American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
www.acog.org      American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
See also ACOG’s brochures on “Early Pregnancy Loss: Miscarriage and Molar Pregnancy” and “Ectopic Pregnancy”

Can I Count On The Accuracy Of A Home Pregnancy Test?
How Accurate is a Home Pregnancy Test

The following article was researched and written by Suzy (MSN, RN), a nurse at Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers. We believe it is important that when women or men have questions regarding a possible pregnancy, that they get accurate, helpful information from the medical community. Here, Suzy helps clear up some of the questions and misinformation regarding home pregnancy tests.

If you think you might be pregnant, it’s important to get the most accurate information quickly.


A home pregnancy test work by detecting pregnancy hormones (HCG) present in urine and blood.   When a fertilized egg attaches to the lining of uterus, HCG is produced.  HCG is usually produced about six days after fertilization but varies with each individual woman.  During pregnancy, levels of HCG continue to rise rapidly, doubling every two to three days.

How Accurate Is A Home Pregnancy Test?
There are many different brands of home pregnancy tests.  Some are more sensitive than others in the ability to detect a pregnancy.  The more sensitive tests can detect lower amounts of HCG and can produce a positive result earlier in the pregnancy.  Research suggests that many home pregnancy tests are not sensitive enough to diagnose pregnancy in women who have recently missed a period. For the most reliable results, take the test one week after your missed period.   The most sensitive and accurate urine pregnancy tests are available through physician offices, hospitals, clinic labs, and Pregnancy Centers (such as Advice & Aid).

What Do Positive Results Mean on a Home Pregnancy Test?
If you get a positive result, you are pregnant. This is true no matter how faint the line, color, or sign is. If you get a positive result, your next step needs to be to call your doctor or a Pregnancy Center such as Advice & Aid to talk about what comes next.

A false-positive test (positive test but not pregnant) can occur if there is a pregnancy loss soon after implantation, an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus), or during menopause.  Also the use of certain drugs like fertility drugs, tranquilizers or sleeping pills, anti-convulsants, or sleeping pills can also cause false-positive results.

What Do Negative Results Mean on a Home Pregnancy Test?
Negative results usually indicate no pregnancy.  However, a pregnancy can be present with a negative test if the test is taken too soon, urine is too diluted, or instructions on package were not followed exactly.

Tips to follow for the most accurate results:

* For the most accurate results, take the test first thing in the morning when urine is the most concentrated

* Always check the test’s expiration date and read the instructions carefully before you take the test.


Advice & Aid can provide medical grade, high sensitivity pregnancy tests, all at no cost to you. There is no judgement, and no  high-pressuring. . . simply help, options and a knowledgeable friend who can help you sort it all out.

If there is the possibility that you might be pregnant, simply schedule an appointment at a time that works for you. It’s private, close – and you’ll begin to get the help that you need.

 

Book Now Button


References:
WebMD
MayoClinic.org

 

 

{Unexpected Pregnancy} Help Is Just A Phone Call Away
Unexpected Pregnancy Help Phone Call Away

Every day, we receive calls here at Advice & Aid from women who feel lost, desperate and hopeless. They are reaching out to us, not always expecting us to have the perfect answer for them, but simply needing to know that there is someone on the other end of the line who will listen.

Often, we have the chance to share a small ray of hope with them. We do have options. We provide assistance. We can walk with them on their journey. Rarely is the call easy. It requires a great deal of courage – and even despair – for a young woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy to reach out to a stranger. But time and again, we have the chance to be there at just the right time.

Sometimes, a call comes in after an abortion has occurred. How this breaks our hearts as we hear the pain and despair in the voice on the other end of the line. These calls typically occur after the young woman has realized that the choice she made was permanent. One such call came in to our hotline recently. The Advice & Aid member who took the call shares with us her side of this story . . . one in which there is a great deal of pain, but also hope and restoration.

She called me on the hotline today, immediately sobbing the words “It’s too late” into the phone. Feelings of helplessness wash over me as I struggle to know what to say to make this better. In reality, I know I can’t take away her pain, so I simply listen to her sobs until they subside enough for her to tell me why it was “too late.”

This is the part where I desperately and silently send a prayer to God, knowing only He can help to ease her pain, to see her pain, to know it’s not all in vain.

I gently ask her, “Can I pray for you?” We pray on the phone together, and I am once again amazed at the words that come from my mouth during the prayer. These are not my words, but have been placed in my heart and brought to my mind at just the right moment to speak hope and healing to her heart.

She simply says thank you and hangs up.

What do I want her to continue to know? She’s not alone. I carry her in my heart each day. I talk to God about her on my way, from here and there, whenever she pops into my mind. She’s popped into my mind a lot.

At times, I wonder if I care too much. This is a hard job; answering calls from the desperate and hurting. But I know that deeply caring about her is the very reason I am here to answer these calls. I literally could do no less.

I want her to continue to know that she’s not alone. I would love just one more chance to tell her “We care about you and your hurts” and “We can walk along beside you on your healing path.”

But, she’s not alone. God has her on His mind. I know, because He keeps bringing her to my mind.

Every day, these are the types of calls that we take. This is what we are called to do. This is why we are here.

If you need to talk, simply pick up the phone and call us at 913.962.0200. We answer 24-hours a day because we know that the unexpected can happen at any time. Not ready to make a phone call but still need to talk? We have an online chat. Simply visit any page on our website, and click on the blue chat box at the bottom left.


Want to know more about how to talk to us . . . anytime, from anywhere? Read here:
Needing to Talk – Our Hotline and Online Chat

Additional help if you or someone you know is expecting:
Advice & Aid Pregnancy Center has additional programs to help. To learn more, check out these posts:
Our Bridges Program
Our Journeys Program
Our Labor & Delivery Program


Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers is a dual-location (Shawnee & Overland Park) crisis pregnancy center. We offer education, options, programs and assistance to those women and families facing an unexpected pregnancy. But most of all, we offer them hope.

Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers offers truthful information about parenting, adoption and abortion, in a caring, non-judgmental environment. We know that  in many cases, an unexpected pregnancy is a very stressful situation, and we exist to offer help, hope and aid.

{Education} The Info You Need On Plan B
Plan B Shouldn't Be Your Plan A

There are a great many questions when it comes to forms of contraceptives. But one thing that needs to be made quite clear is that they are not all the same! Some, such as Plan B, work very differently than other over-the-counter  contraceptives. It is important to understand the differences, and the timing and effectiveness of this drug in order to make wise, informed decisions.

The more you know, the more control you have over what happens with your body!

What is Plan B & how does it work?
Plan B (also known as the Morning After Pill, My Way, Next Choice) is a form of emergency contraception available over the counter at pharmacies with proof of age over 15. Plan B is a drug called levonorgestrel, and is intended to be taken by mouth in either one or two doses. It works by thickening the mucus from the cervix to prevent the sperm from traveling further up the cervix, it inhibits ovulation, and it also changes the endometrium or lining of the uterus.

Plan B’s major limitation
Plan B is intended to be taken as soon as possible after intercourse has occurred; however, it may be taken up to as many as 5 days post-intercourse. It is important to note that Plan B will NOT be effective if implantation has already taken place. If you are already pregnant, Plan B does not work.

Some serious side effects
Plan B is classified as a “hazardous drug,” requiring proper handling and disposal. This means that the drug can produce significant side effects, especially if the woman has taken more than one or two doses. The most common side effects are fatigue, disruption of normal menstrual flow, nausea, and abdominal pain. Less common side effects include dizziness, loss of periods, vaginal hemorrhage, and breast tenderness. Plan B also negatively interacts with many medicines taken for other health conditions, such as antidiabetics, warfarin, medications for HIV, as well as popular supplements such as herbs and St. John’s wort. If used over a long period of time, Plan B can significantly disrupt the menstrual cycle and hormones that control that cycle. It is highly critical to note that Plan B does not decrease the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

Make sure you fully understand any medication that you put into your body. Plan B may seem like a good alternative at the time, but it’s limitations, possible side effects and the exact way that it works in your body may cause you to rethink that decision. Knowing that not all types contraception are the same is an important first step.

If you want more information about the Morning After Pill, start here at our website. You will find a list of questions that you should consider when making the decision. It is easy to schedule an appointment with us to discuss what options you have, as well as the facts you need about those options. And best of all, the appointment is totally free and can be scheduled online in complete privacy!

Book Now Button


The above post was written in part by Elise Loughman, who is a current medical student. Excerpts and information for this article were taken from UpToDate, a source of evidence-based medicine.


 

Additional articles about Sex Education:
What You Need To Know About HPV
Bacterial Vaginosis

 

 

 

{Pregnancy Education} What Is A Viable Pregnancy?
Viable Pregnancy

You have just taken a pregnancy test, and it is positive. Whether this is good news to you or it is completely unexpected, one of the first things you should do is ensure that the pregnancy is viable.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a non-viable pregnancy can be defined as “a pregnancy that is not growing normally and may end in miscarriage.” The opposite of a non-viable pregnancy is a viable pregnancy, in which a heart beat can be detected and the pregnancy is progressing normally. It is of absolute importance that, before you make any decisions at all, you receive medical attention to determine the viability of the pregnancy.

One of the best ways to determine the viability of the pregnancy is through an ultrasound. An ultrasound can help determine if the pregnancy is located inside the uterus (or is ectopic, read here for more information), determine the approximate gestational age, and if the fetus has a heartbeat. It is crucial that the pregnancy is located in the uterus to ensure safety for the mother. When the pregnancy takes place outside of the uterus (ectopic), the mother should seek immediate treatment at either a doctor’s office or emergency room due to the possible severe impact it can have on her body.

It is estimated that between 10%-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, especially in the critical early months. It is most common for a miscarriage to occur before the 12th week of pregnancy. During a miscarriage, the fetus does not develop normally, and the pregnancy ends. This can most often be detected by a lack of heart rate on an ultrasound. For this reason, it is important that when a women receives a positive on her pregnancy test that she seek medical attention.


If you, or someone you know, might be pregnant, it is important that the viability of the pregnancy is determined. This should happen before any decisions are made regarding the pregnancy. Advice & Aid offers limited ultrasound services, free of charge. If you need assistance, please contact us at our 24-hour hotline at 913.962.0200.

{Pregnancy Education} What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the pregnancy takes place on the outside of the uterus or womb. Often in these cases, the pregnancy can happen in the fallopian tube, but can occasionally attach to either an ovary or some other pelvic organ. Anytime a pregnancy occurs outside of the uterus, it can be a dangerous condition. Over time, as the pregnancy grows, the fallopian tubes are unable to accommodate the development and can rupture. This may cause internal bleeding, which, if left untreated, could result in the mother’s death.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) warns that there are many risk factors and behaviors that could lead to an increased possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. Among those factors are:

  • History of PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Previous ectopic pregnancy
  • Endometriosis
  • Infertility
  • Prior tubal, pelvic or abdominal surgeries

Additionally, women who smoke or are at an increased maternal age are also at higher risk for the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy.

There are a wide variety of symptoms that could indicate an ectopic pregnancy. Abnormal vaginal bleeding (light or heavy) may be an indication. Abdominal or pelvic pain that may be described as sharp or sudden and without relief may be another indication. However, this abdominal/pelvic pain can also “come and go,” and usually will occur on only one side of the abdomen or pelvis. Another common symptom of an ectopic pregnancy is unusual shoulder pain. This can be caused by the fallopian tube rupturing, causing blood to accumulate in the area between the chest and stomach, resulting in pain in the shoulder. Any of these symptoms may be accompanied by weakness, dizziness or fainting. Most often, the symptoms occur before a woman even suspects that she may be pregnant. If any of these symptoms occur, a doctor should be contacted immediately.

Treatment for an ectopic pregnancy may involve medication or even surgery. The doctor can determine the best treatment for the woman’s situation and symptoms.


If you, or someone you know, are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you contact a doctor immediately. If you need assistance locating a doctor, please contact Advice & Aid at our 24-hour hotline at 913.962.0200.