A patient was recently discovered to have an ectopic pregnancy. The nurse should tell the patient which of the following?


• Ectopic pregnancies can be managed either surgically or medically. Ectopic pregnancies are rarely viable. A ruptured ectopic pregnancy requires surgery to repair or remove the affected fallopian tube. If the ectopic pregnancy is unruptured, medical intervention is done to minimize damage and prevent rupture.

• Most women go on to have uncomplicated pregnancies and births in the future, though around 10% may have another ectopic pregnancy. After surgical treatment, most physicians will recommend waiting 3-6 months before trying to conceive again. 

• 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, the zygote does not travel the length of the tube to reach the uterus. It implants into the lining of the fallopian tube instead of the uterine wall.

• Medical treatment involves oral administration of Methotrexate followed by leucovorin. Methotrexate, a folic acid antagonist chemotherapeutic agent, attacks and destroys rapidly-dividing, fast-growing cells.

• As the fetus grows in the fallopian tube, there is a tendency to rupture. If a tube is removed, the woman's fertility is reduced because while she will still ovulate, the eggs released from the affected side cannot be fertilized or reach the uterus without a fallopian tube. Ovulation alternates between the left and right ovaries, so pregnancy can only take place every other month when an egg is released from the unaffected side.

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