A recent study by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health identified a number of risk factors for ectopic pregnancy. In order to prospectively examine “the relationship between demographic, lifestyle, and reproductive factors and the risk of ectopic pregnancy,” the researchers utilized a sample size of 41,440 pregnancies from 22,356 women in the general population. The results confirmed the existence of previously known risk factors (smoking, for example) and also identified various risk factors, which had not yet been studied.
The study concluded that women who consumed ≥10 grams of alcohol per day, were current or former smokers, initiated oral contraceptives earlier than sixteen years of age, were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) in utero, and who had a history of intrauterine device use, tubal ligation, or infertility had a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy. Other known risk factors the study recognized include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), chlamydia infection, and certain forms of contraception.
Ectopic pregnancies (EP) occur “when the developing blastocyst becomes implanted at a site other than the endometrium of the uterine cavity.” And while only 1–2% of pregnancies are ectopic in the United States, in Europe, ectopic pregnancies account for 9–13% of all pregnancy related deaths.
At IRMS, we are committed to reducing the risk of all types of pregnancy complications and therefore encourage our patients to avoid optional behaviors like smoking that are associated with a higher risk of EP. Our very own Dr. Serena H. Chen cites that one cigarette a day can impact your fertility. You can also check out our ever-expanding wellness section for additional tips and recommendations on how healthy lifestyle choices can ease your fertility journey.