The Link Between Ectopic Pregnancy and Smoking

According to the NHS Choices website, Women who smoke are twice as likely to develop an ectopic pregnancy in comparison to those who are non-smokers.

An ectopic pregnancy can be described as an ‘Out-of-Place Pregnancy.’ A serious cause for concern and occurring in around one in sixty pregnancies, suspected Ectopic Pregnancies require immediate medical attention.

Pregnant woman without ectopic pregnancy

Rather than developing within the womb, an ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg implants elsewhere; often within the fallopian tubes. The consequences being, that the egg will not develop as normal into a baby, with potentially devastating psychological and physical effects to the mother.

Regrettably, in all cases the untreated continuation of an ectopic pregnancy would be fatal. The fertilised egg would continue to grow, causing a rupture within the fallopian tube, splitting open, causing potentially fatal internal bleeding.

A clear link has been discovered, proving a causal relationship between smoking and Ectopic Pregnancies. Scientists found that a chemical in cigarette smoke triggers a reaction a reaction within the fallopian tubes, increasing the levels of protein. This protein raises the risk of the egg implanting outside the womb, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy.

It is crucial that an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed as promptly as possible. Delays to diagnosis and treatment increases the chances of the fallopian tubes being irrevocably damaged, leading to future fertility issues and a raised chance of further ectopic pregnancies. As an ectopic pregnancy continues there is also a higher risk of a rupture leading to internal bleeding.

It is important to bear in mind that if you suspect you have an ectopic pregnancy, urgent medical treatment should be sought. The consequences of an ectopic pregnancy rupture can be far reaching, with risks associated with future health and fertility.

Giving up smoking has countless benefits, both for the individual and for those close to them, many of which have been previously discussed in detail on this website. However, with this in mind, it is still important to consider the benefits that are not quite as well publicised.

For many people, the safeguarding of their health and fertility is a clear priority. With the link between cigarettes and ectopic pregnancies clear, there has never been a better reason to stop smoking!


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