A tubular pregnancy, also known as an ectopic pregnancy, can be a traumatic experience. Often, when a woman has an tubular pregnancy, she doesn’t know that anything is wrong, and begins to plan on having a baby. Then, almost without warning, an ultrasound or abdominal pain will shatter her hopes. Some studies suggest that a large percentage of miscarriages are actually due to a tubular pregnancy.
A tubular pregnancy refers to a condition in which the egg, when fertilized, implants somewhere other than the uterus. The fertilized egg develops until it is big enough to cause pain for the mother. Generally, the fertilized egg attaches to the fallopian tubes, the cervix, or in the abdomen. The fertilized egg cannot develop normally and receive nutrition in these locations. There is no procedure that can move a fertilized egg from one of these locations to the uterus.
The signs of a tubular pregnancy can include pain, vaginal spotting or bleeding, dizziness or fainting, low blood pressure, and lower back pain. Generally, a tubular pregnancy will produce a positive pregnancy test. If your hCG levels are lower than expected, however, this can indicate a tubular pregnancy.
A tubular pregnancy is treated surgically. The health care provider removes the fertilized egg from the woman’s body. This can be done laparoscopically, which is much less painful and evasive than traditional surgeries. If a tubular pregnancy is detected extremely early, it can be treated with an injection which will dissolve the fertilized egg. After treatment for a tubular pregnancy, your health care provider will likely want to see you again soon to make sure that your hCG levels return to normal.
Tubular pregnancy cannot be prevented. Having your tubes tied, having endometriosis, having pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and having previous ectopic pregnancies or other conditions that have left the fallopian tubes scarred are all factors that increase the risk of having a tubular pregnancy.
Having a tubular pregnancy does not, in general, prevent a woman from later having a successful pregnancy. However, about 30 percent of women who have had a tubular pregnancy will have at least some difficulty getting pregnant again.