British reality TV regular Charlotte Crosby has revealed details of her heartbreaking ectopic pregnancy, which resulted in an emergency operation.
The Geordie Shore star fell pregnant while in a relationship with Gary Beadle, after running out of her contraceptive pill. She didn't realise she was pregnant, and waited a week before seeing a doctor about the bleeding and cramping she had been experiencing (having put it down to a "really bad period"). Because she waited so long, there was a tear in her fallopian tube and internal bleeding. Crosby told Heat magazine she collapsed in agony when she arrived at hospital and it was only when she had an X-ray that she realised how much damage had been caused. An emergency op to remove her fallopian tube will affect her ability to have children.
While Crosby’s experience is rare, ectopic pregnancies are very common, affecting 1 in every 80 to 90 pregnancies in the U.K. every year.
The NHS describes an ectopic pregnancy as a pregnancy "when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes." Because the egg is implanted outside of the womb it won't develop into a child. The longer the pregnancy continues, the more the woman's health is at risk, so it's important that the egg is removed (either with medication or an operation) as quickly as possible.
It's not always possible to detect an ectopic pregnancy. Common symptoms include pain in the tip of the shoulder, pain in the lower side of the tummy, vaginal bleeding, brown water discharge and discomfort when using the toilet. Women who do have symptoms typically experience them between the fourth and 12th week of pregnancy.
There's no definitive cause of ectopic pregnancy but medical experts suggest smoking, pelvic inflammatory disease, fertility treatment such as IVF and previous fallopian tube surgery may put a woman at higher risk.
It's possible to get pregnant again after an ectopic pregnancy but doctors advise waiting until you have had two further periods to give the body a chance to recover. According to the NHS 65 percent of women have had a successful pregnancy after an ectopic pregnancy.
The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust provides information and support to those who have experienced an early pregnancy complication.
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