News & Resources

Diagnosis of an Abnormal Pregnancy

October 22, 2015
By Carolina M. Sueldo, M.D., IVF FLORIDA Reproductive Associates

This is the moment you’ve wanted for such a long time…. You’re pregnant. But as the days pass:

  • You are told that your “levels” are not rising appropriately, or
  • You start having vaginal bleeding, or
  • You start having pelvic cramping and/or sharp pains,
  • Or all of the above.

The diagnosis of an abnormal pregnancy can be a very scary and isolating thing for a woman / couple. It is hard enough getting to this point, it becomes extremely difficult to understand how an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage may happen.

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

  • This is a pregnancy that is located outside of the uterus. The most common location is the Fallopian tubes. Because of potential tubal rupture with subsequent internal bleeding, it is extremely important that you follow up with your doctor if you are at risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

What is a miscarriage?

  • This is a pregnancy that is located inside the uterus. Unfortunately, the pregnancy does not implant/develop normally and typically presents with menses-like cramping and vaginal bleeding.
    • Biochemical loss: Pregnancy hormone levels rise then fall, without evidence of a pregnancy seen by ultrasound.
    • Clinical loss: Pregnancy hormone levels will rise and then fall, but there will be evidence of a pregnancy seen by ultrasound. Common findings may include: an empty sac inside the uterus or a sac with an embryo but no heartbeat.

So what do you do?

  • Always talk to your doctor and their team. They will provide information and discuss different treatment options with you to formulate a plan of care.
  • “I don’t want to bother my doctor” or “It’s probably nothing” are not good thoughts. Always let your doctor and their team know about new or worsening symptoms.
  • Do not blame yourself, or think that it’s something you did. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the frequency of clinically recognized early pregnancy loss ranges from  9-17% in women 20-30yo, up to 40% by age 40.
  • Remember, you do not have to go through it alone. Reach out for support. Hope After Loss,, is just one of the many resources available.

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