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A cervical pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg becomes implanted in the cervix, or the area where the uterus meets the vagina, instead of in the uterus itself. While it often presents symptoms similar to those of normal pregnancy, the implanted egg cannot successfully develop and can even pose a life-threatening health risk. This condition has a number of possible causes, but is most common in women with damaged or malformed reproductive organs. It is usually diagnosed through imaging and blood tests, and treated with drug injections or surgery. Cervical pregnancy generally makes future pregnancies difficult, but not impossible.
At the beginning of a normal pregnancy, an egg which has been released by the ovary is fertilized in the fallopian tube and then implants in the uterine wall, where it begins to receive nourishment and develop. In the condition known as ectopic pregnancy, however, the fertilized egg implants in another part of the reproductive anatomy. Cervical pregnancy is a form of ectopic pregnancy in which the fertilized egg implants in the cervical tissue.
Women experiencing cervical pregnancy may at first have symptoms similar to those of normal pregnancy, such as nausea, breast tenderness, and missed periods. An egg implanted in the cervix cannot successfully develop, however, and as the pregnancy progresses, it generally begins to cause abdominal pain and, in some cases, vaginal bleeding. Left untreated, this type of pregnancy can cause severe damage to the reproductive organs and life-threatening internal bleeding.
While cervical pregnancies have a number of possible causes, they are most common in women with malformed or scarred reproductive organs. Often, this type of scarring is caused by surgery. It can also result from pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may in turn be caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
If a physician suspects a cervical pregnancy, he may first perform a pelvic exam and a blood test to verify that the patient is pregnant. He will likely also perform an imaging test such as an ultrasound to determine whether the fertilized egg has implanted in an area other than the uterine wall. If a cervical pregnancy is discovered, the implanted egg must be eliminated to prevent potentially life-threatening complications. An early cervical pregnancy may be treated with an injection of a drug which dissipates the egg. Cervical pregnancies which have progressed significantly may require surgical intervention.
After experiencing cervical pregnancy, many women may find it difficult to conceive and successfully carry a baby. Pregnancy following this condition is not necessarily impossible, however. Early treatment is crucial to protecting a woman’s reproductive health. Thus, those who suspect ectopic pregnancy should consult a physician as soon as possible.
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