Can an ectopic pregnancy be prevented?

Although in many cases of ectopic pregnancies, the exact causes of ectopic pregnancies are unknown, however, some risk factors for ectopic pregnancy are well documented and from a public health point of view can be modified to atleast reduce the occurrence of ectopic pregnancies. In many cases, ectopic pregnancies have been linked to tubal damage secondary to genital tract infections caused or initiated by Chlamydia trachomatis and Neiserria gonorrhea. Since these are sexually transmitted, perhaps the most important means of reducing or preventing ectopic pregnancies include all activities involved in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Unfortunately, ectopic pregnancies occur many years after exposure to these organisms, which in many instances are asymptomatic (are without any symptoms). It is therefore imperative that prevention of ectopic pregnancies should be commenced in the early formative years of young girls and young boys by promoting the following.

1)Young boys and girls should be encouraged to abstain from early debut of sexual intercourse, until they are ready to settle down and marry. If they must have intercourse, they must be faithful to only one sexual partner preferably after been screened and certified negative of any sexually transmitted diseases. Hence, all efforts must be done to avoid engaging in having multiple sexual partners.

2) Where sexual intercourse must occur between couples unscreened for sexually transmitted diseases, there must be correct and consistent use of condom as a protective means against sexually transmitted diseases. In other words the on and off use of condoms is not advised.

3) Any suspicion of sexually transmitted disease should be treated after a full screening of potential organisms that can cause sexually transmitted diseases including PID (Pelvic inflammatory Disease). Contact tracing of all individuals with sexual relationship with the client must be done including screening for Chlamydiae and Neisseria gonorrhea. This is important because these organisms may not present with any symptoms for years, yet they gradually destroy the fallopian tubes making them the most important risk factors for ectopic pregnancy and tubal factor infertility Worldwide.

4) Avoidance and or quiting of cigarette smoking: Nicotine in cigarretes has been associated with about 2 to 3 times increased risk of ectopic pregnancy compared to the general population. Although the exact mechanism by which the nicotine increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy is unknown, it is suspected that it affects the normal function of the ciliary apparatus within the fallopian tubes as well as the movement of the fallopian tube itself. The ciliary apparatus are tiny finger-like projections within the tubes that moves in an oscillatory manner to move the tubal content  including the fertilized egg or ovum towards the womb, damage to which can lead to stagnation of the fertilized egg in the tube.

5) Refraining from delaying giving birth till the end of ones reproductive career: Another risk factor for ectopic pregnancy is getting pregnant above 35 years. But by completing one’s family size before the age of 35 years may help reduce the risk of ectopic pregnancy at a larger scale within the society.

Finally, to prevent acute complication of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, all sexually active women who missed their menses should present at the hospital for a pregancy test irrespective of any form of contraception and a transvaginal ultrasound scan if  the pregnancy test is positive to localize the position and confirm the viablity (to confirm if the fetus is alive or not) of the pregnancy. Please for more information, kindly CHAT WITH OUR CONSULTANTS.








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