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Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy: not the words anybody wants to hear at a doctor’s appointment. But it’s important that we talk about what exactly an ectopic pregnancy is, who is at risk, tell-tale symptoms, and typical treatment. Ectopic pregnancies are highly dangerous, and need to be taken very seriously. 1 out of 50 pregnancies are ectopic. Knowing the signs and risk factors can save lives.

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

In a normal pregnancy, conception occurs in the fallopian tube, and then the baby will travel to the uterus and implant into a soft, cushiony lining of the uterus called the endometrium. The baby stays inside the uterus until he or she is ready to be born. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fetus attaches outside of the uterus where it’s not supposed to be.

But sometimes instead of journeying on into the uterus where it belongs, the baby will stay inside the fallopian tube and implant there, or move elsewhere and implant in the ovary, in the abdominal cavity, or on the cervix. Most ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube, and are often referred to as “tubal pregnancies.”

A baby almost never survives an ectopic pregnancy. There have been extremely rare and unusual cases in which a baby has survived, but the odds are 1 to 3 million. These few cases typically happen outside the fallopian tubes in the abdominal cavity where blood supply is rich. Normally, a baby cannot survive because it will not get the space and supplies it needs from the uterus. The mother is at risk as well for damage to the reproductive system, and potentially death if the ectopic pregnancy goes undetected and is not treated.

Symptoms

At first a woman with an ectopic pregnancy may experience normal pregnancy symptoms: nausea, missed period, breast tenderness, mood swings, and other typical signs of pregnancy. If she takes a pregnancy test, the result will most likely be positive, but that pregnancy cannot continue normally.

Symptoms that the pregnancy is ectopic will appear as the baby continues to grow. These symptoms include:

  • Pelvic, neck, abdominal, shoulder, or rectal pain and/or cramps
  • Light or heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, including the urge to have a bowel movement
  • Extreme lightheadedness or fainting
  • Sharp pain that lasts more than a few minutes
  • Abnormally low blood pressure

Seek emergency medical attention if you have any signs of an ectopic pregnancy. If gone untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can lead to a rupture of the fallopian tube or other organs, and the woman could die from blood loss.

Causes and Risk Factors

An ectopic pregnancy can be caused by inflammation or scarring in the reproductive tract. A woman may be born with misshapen fallopian tubes, or have damage from an STD or tubal surgery.

Pregnant women should consider the following risk factors in monitoring for an ectopic pregnancy:

  • Previous ectopic pregnancies
  • Inflammation or irritation of the reproductive system, due to sexually transmitted disease or pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Fertility treatments. Some studies have shown that IVF (in vitro fertilization) can increase the likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Tubal surgery. Any sort of surgery on the reproductive system could lead to scarring that in turn could cause an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Intrauterine Devices (IUD). Though it is rare for a woman to get pregnant while an IUD is in place, if she were to get pregnant and IUD could prevent the fetus from implanting inside the uterus.
  • Smoking. Cigarette smoking, especially right before pregnancy, could increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Maternal age of 35-44 years
  • Previous pelvic or abdominal surgery
  • Endometriosis (a chronic reproductive disorder in which the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus)

Detecting an ectopic pregnancy

Always consult your doctor if you have concerns about your current or potential pregnancy. Although we can’t diagnose or treat an ectopic pregnancy, our team at Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic is ready to support you.

Our licensed nurses are trained in limited obstetric ultrasound, which can determine whether the pregnancy is in or outside the uterus. This no-cost, confidential ultrasound could be the first step in detecting an ectopic pregnancy. We’ll refer you to local doctors who can take it from there.

We also provide emotional support through confidential counseling at no cost to you. All of our staff are prepared to listen and be with you in this time of uncertainty. Whether the pregnancy is typical or complications arise, Lifeline is here for you.

 

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By Kath Crane

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/symptoms-causes/syc-20372088

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/ectopic-pregnancy/

https://www.verywellfamily.com/can-an-ectopic-pregnancy-be-saved-2371464

https://www.medicoverfertility.com/blog/ectopic-pregnancy

 

What To Expect At Your First Lifeline Appointment

You’ve called or made an appointment online. You walk into Lifeline aaaand…then what?

If you’ve never been to a pregnancy clinic like Lifeline before, you might feel a little nervous or unsure. Do I need to drink a ton of water and have a full bladder going in? Will I be judged? Should I bring my insurance card?

Have no fear, we’ll answer all those questions for you! First, know that help is here for you at Lifeline. We’re here to listen, encourage, and support you. From the moment you step inside, we hope you feel like you’re in a safe place where you can just be yourself, ask all your questions, and let us know how we can best help you. All are welcome regardless of their race, religion, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation.  Everyone needs an extra hand sometimes, and we want to extend ours, free of judgement!

 

WHERE TO GO

  • Lifeline is located at 1515 N New St., Kirksville, MO. If you’re familiar with the Kirksville area, we’re right behind Auto Zone off of Baltimore St./ Business Hwy 63.
  • Park in the Client/Expecting Mom/New Mom spots (VIP parking!).
  • Enter through the front door and you’ll hear a happy chime and see a friendly face at the front desk ready to check you in. Just let our receptionist know your name and she’ll make sure our nurses know you’ve arrived.

 

WHAT TO BRING

  • All new clients will need to bring a photo ID. This could be a driver’s license or permit, a school ID, a passport, or any other official ID that has your photo and legal name. This just helps us make sure our clinic is safe and secure for everybody.
  • If you’re coming for a pregnancy test or an ultrasound, arrive with a full bladder. The pregnancy test requires a urine sample from you, and having a full bladder for an ultrasound allows the nurse to get a better picture of the reproductive system. Don’t worry, we’ll let you relieve yourself as soon as possible!
  • Feel free to bring your significant other, a friend, or family member. We want you to have the support from loved ones that you need! The nurse will ask to talk with you individually at first just to make sure you have the opportunity to ask any questions or share private information that you wouldn’t want to share with your friends and family. But soon your loved ones will be able to join you to learn more about our programs and about your pregnancy situation and ask any questions they might have. We even offer Dadline, a fatherhood mentorship program designed just for expecting/new dads. If you are pregnant or a new mom and the father of your baby wants to learn more about being a dad, our nurse can give him more information on that program.

 

WHAT NOT TO BRING

  • You won’t need to bring any form of payment, because all of our services are offered at no charge (celebrate good times, come on)!
  • Insurance information is not needed for our services.
  • Please leave food and drinks at home or in the car so we can keep our clinic clean for everybody.

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Our receptionist will have you fill out some paperwork when you arrive. Nothing super long, just your name, date of birth, date of your last menstrual period (if that applies to the type of appointment you are here for), and other basic info.
  • Whenever the nurse is ready, she’ll take you back to one of our comfy client rooms. No stark white walls, no obnoxiously bright lights. Just a cozy room with plush chairs, colorful designs, and plenty of privacy for you to talk one-on-one with a registered nurse who wants to help you. She’ll go through some more questions with you about your pregnancy or potential pregnancy, medical history, and what resources are available to further assist you. Your honest answers will allow her to best help you.

 

FOR PREGNANCY TESTS

  • The nurse will show you the private bathroom, and you’ll go in to provide a urine sample in a cup.
  • When you’re finished, the nurse will test your urine for HCG (a pregnancy hormone) with a medical grade pregnancy test.
  • If the test is positive, she’ll discuss your options with you and let you know about all the resources available at our clinic, like our Earn While You Learn program. She’ll also refer you to other helpful community resources.
  • If the test is negative, the nurse will still be happy to share information about our programs or community referrals if you want to know more. And, whatever the test result, whether you want to shout for joy or need time to process the situation, the nurse will be by your side as long as you want.

 

FOR ULTRASOUNDS

  • If you’re in the first or second trimester of pregnancy, you might be eligible for an  ultrasound at Lifeline.
  • Our nurse will take you back to the ultrasound room, and an additional staff person will accompany you and the nurse for extra support.
  • The exam will start with an abdominal ultrasound (on your belly), and if you’re early on in your pregnancy you will also need a transvaginal ultrasound. The vaginal probe allows us to get a clearer picture when the pregnancy is just getting started.
  • The nurse will use either or both probes to measure the gestational age of the baby (how far along you are), the baby’s heart rate, and to make sure the pregnancy is in the uterus where it’s supposed to be. At Lifeline we don’t diagnose any medical issues or determine the baby’s sex. We’ll refer you to your doctor for those questions.
  • After taking some measurements, the nurse will talk you through what’s going on in your body. You’ll be able to see the screen the whole time.
  • Photos of the ultrasound and measurements will also be reviewed by our medical director, a board-certified OB/GYN. The physician will review everything and we will let you know what sort of care he recommends. You’ll even get to take copies of those photos home with you!

 

YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

Hopefully this info gives you a better picture of what to expect from your first appointment at Lifeline. If you have any other questions, please give us a call or send an email or text. We want you to have all the information you need to feel at ease. If you haven’t scheduled your appointment yet, click the button below to book it today!

Remember, help is here for you. No judgment. No pressure. Just compassion, information, and resources to help every step of the way.

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Can I get pregnant during my period?

But it’s my period…

You may have heard something like it’s impossible to get pregnant on your period. It’s sort of true, sort of not. It’s extremely unlikely for conception to occur during the menstrual period. However, that doesn’t mean that having sex during your period won’t result in pregnancy.

Wait, what?  Yes, it is indeed possible to get pregnant from sex occurring during a period.

Two factors play into this:

  1. Sperm can survive up to five days inside the female reproductive tract.
  2. Ovulation does not always occur on Day 14, as legend tells it.

How the Cycle Works

The Textbook Woman has a 28-day cycle. Once a month, one of the ovaries in a woman’s body releases an egg.  Sperm could fertilize that egg as a result of sex and cause a pregnancy. This process, called ovulation, typically happens around day 14 for the Textbook Woman. However, not everybody is a Textbook Woman. Ovulation can happen on different days for different women, and even the same woman can have very differing cycle lengths. Multiple factors contribute to the ovary releasing an egg earlier or later than usual, including stress, changes in diet or exercise, and travel. So if you either have consistently shorter cycles or just a random short cycle, that means you would ovulate significantly earlier than Day 14.

If a woman is having a shorter or longer cycle than normal, the difference is going to be in the days between when her last period ends and when one of the ovaries releases an egg. The time between the day the egg is released and the start of her next period is going to stay the same.

For example…

Let’s say our fictitious friend Martha had a 22-day cycle. Remember that the time between the day an ovary releases the egg and the first day of the next period generally remains the same from period to period (12-16 days depending on the woman). Therefore, the difference in cycle lengths come from the days in between the period and ovulation. For Martha’s shorter cycle, that means she could have ovulated as early as Day 6. Because sperm can survive up to five days inside the female reproductive system, Martha could get pregnant from sex she had during her period.

The more you know

It’s important to be aware of the way your body works in order to achieve or avoid pregnancy. There are a lot of misconceptions (pun intended) about how the female reproductive system works, so do all you can to learn the truth from the myths.

If you think you may be pregnant, know that you don’t have to settle for a lack of information about your body. To learn more about pregnancy and get the resources you need, including a pregnancy test or ultrasound, click here for more info or call Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic in Kirksville, MO at 660-665-5688. All our confidential services are offered at no cost.

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Resources:
Toni Weschler,
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
Healthline

Is there an Abortion Clinic in Kirksville?

Let’s face it, finding out the results of a pregnancy test can be a nerve-wracking experience. Whether it’s expected or not so much, pregnancy is big news. So when you see or hear that infamous p-word for the first time (POSITIVE), you realize you have a decision to make.

Is there an Abortion Clinic in Kirksville?

If you live in or around Kirksville, MO, it’s important to know that there is no abortion clinic in Kirksville. Planned Parenthood of Kirksville closed after 38 years of service on November 14th, 2009. This occurred due to a decline in client interest and a shortage of nurse practitioners. The Kirksville location did not provide abortions, but did make abortion referrals and provided the morning after pill.

If you’re facing an unexpected pregnancy, you can still get the help you need from other local resources. Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic offers many no-cost and confidential services. These include  pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, as well as options counseling, in which you’ll get to talk one-on-one with a nurse or counselor and ask questions about your next steps. They can help walk you through your options and link you up with other local organizations that can help. Lifeline offers education and support groups as well. Wherever you are in your pregnancy, and no matter how you’re feeling about it, Lifeline is here to help. Please note that Lifeline does not provide or refer for abortions. Lifeline exists to help you understand all of your pregnancy decision options and does not benefit financially from your decision regarding your pregnancy because all services are offered at no cost.

This is your decision. It’s your life and your health. You owe it to yourself to get all the information you can. Call 660-665-5688 or click here to make an appointment and find out more.  

 

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Resources:
http://ktvo.com/news/local/planned-parenthood-closing-in-kirksville
https://missourilifenews.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/kirksville-planned-parenthood-to-close-this-november/

STD Basics

Our health and the health of our developing babies are intertwined. Taking care of ourselves is vital to the well-being of our little ones, not just during pregnancy, but before and after pregnancy. Our sexual health doesn’t get a free pass on this. Reproductive issues, such as an STD, can have a direct impact on the health of our children.

Symptoms

Sexually transmitted diseases are real. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 Americans currently has an STD.

Symptoms that could be signs of an STD include:

  • Burning or itching of the genitals
  • Pain while urinating
  • Blisters or sores in the genital area
  • A yellow/green discharge

However, many living with these infections have no idea because the above symptoms may not show up for several months after infection or longer. Someone with an STD may keep passing it on to other people, meanwhile, their own bodies continue to take internal damage that they can’t see on the outside. Because an individual may not be able to tell by their symptoms that they have contracted an STD, it is important to get tested early at a doctor or health clinic to ensure that they are infection-free. Any sexually active person outside of a monogamous relationship (a committed relationship between two people, and one in which both parties have verified that they have not contracted an STD from anyone in the past) should get an STD test.

Bacterial Infections

Examples:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis

Curable?

  • Yes. These can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics can cure the infection, but will not reverse any of the damage already caused to the body.

How they can affect pregnancy:

  • The infections mentioned above, if not properly treated, can cause permanent scarring to the reproductive tract. This increases the likelihood of ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and developmental issues for baby.
  • If a woman has chlamydia or gonorrhea, it can spread to the baby if left untreated.
  • Syphilis can spread to the baby in the uterus, which is why a sexually active woman outside of a monogamous relationship should test early and often in order to treat any STDs she may contract.


Viral Infections


Examples:

  • Herpes
  • HPV
  • HIV/AIDS

Curable?

  • No. Viral infections cannot be cured. Someone who contracts one of these viruses will have it for the rest of their life.

How they affect pregnancy:

  • These can also cause serious damage to the reproductive system and to the baby. Again, it is important to test early and often and to let your doctor know so that they can help you form the best plan for taking care of your baby. This may include having a C-section in order to prevent the infection from spreading to baby vaginally.

Preventing an STD

The best way to take care of our own sexual health, as well as the health of our future partners and children, is to not have sex outside of a lifelong relationship like marriage. Anyone choosing to be sexually active before marriage should consider the risks and discuss past history with their partner. Condoms reduce the risk of contracting an STD by about 85%. This, of course, is better than using no protection but still leaves a 15% chance of passing on one of these life-altering diseases. And again, testing early and often and following doctor’s orders exactly can help prevent damage.

 

Want to learn more about how you can take care of yourself and your baby? You may be interested in Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic’s confidential, no-cost services. We do not test for sexually transmitted diseases, but we can refer you to testing locations as well as provide you with the education and supplies you need for your family. Click here to find out more about Lifeline’s Earn While You Learn program, or call 660-665-5688.

 

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Resources:
https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm
https://www.cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/

Find Us

CONTACT US
Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic
1515 N. New St.
Kirksville, MO 63501
Get Directions
Text: 660.851.4350
Call: 660.665.5688
lifelinephc@gmail.com