A patient was recently discovered to have an ectopic pregnancy. The nurse should tell the patient:


•Ectopic pregnancies can be managed either surgically or medically. A ruptured ectopic pregnancy requires surgery to repair or cut the affected fallopian tube. If the ectopic pregnancy is unruptured, medical intervention is done. Physician orders oral administration of Methotrexate followed by leucovorin. Methotrexate, a folic acid antagonist chemotherapeutic agent, attacks and destroys fast-growing cells.

•An ectopic pregnancy is one in which implantation occurs outside the uterine cavity. Immediately after the union of ovum and spermatozoon, the zygote begins to divide and grow normally. Unfortunately, because an obstruction is present, the zygote cannot travel the length of the tube. It implants into the lining of the tube instead of the uterine wall.

•Ectopic pregnancies are rarely viable.

•As the fetus grows in the fallopian tube, there is a tendency to rupture. If a tube is removed, the woman is theoretically only 50% fertile, because every other month, when she ovulates from the ovary next to the removed tube, sperm cannot reach the ovum on that side.

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