Understanding the Vulva: Part 2 – What the heck is an ectopic pregnancy?

Let’s Talk Ovulation.

For ovulation to occur, which is when the follicle releases the ready ovum or egg into the fallopian tubes, a series of conditions need to be met – including hormonal level, overall health of the individual person, and so on. If the conditions aren’t met, then ovulation will not happen.

This is why things like stress, nutrition, weight level, can all interfere and impact your menstruation, because they can change the conditions inside your body in such a way as to prevent ovulation or delay it.

At the start of each menstrual period, a group of follicles will become potential candidates for ovulation, since they are in the right stage of growth. After the first several days, one will emerge as the dominant follicle and the other candidates will die off. The dominant follicle will continue to develop until the time comes for it to release the egg into the fallopian tube. The release of the egg is what is called Ovulation, and is necessary for reproduction to occur.  After the egg is released, there is a period of up to 72 hours during which it needs to be fertilized by sperm, or it begins to break down.

While there are averages regarding how many days from the first day of your period to when you ovulate, the exact number of days it takes is both individual, meaning it is different for everyone, and can change as a result of various internal and external factors such as stress levels, hormone levels, overall health, medications, and so on. This is why just judging based on a calendar whether or not you’ve ovulated can be imprecise and inconsistent. It can be better to track other changes such as basal body temperature, as well as changes to your cervical fluid in order to get a clearer picture regarding at what point you are in your cycle.

So, what exactly happens when you get pregnant?

It’s not as simple as the egg just being fertilized, though many people think it is.

After an egg is released into the fallopian tube, it has a window during which time a spermatozoa, or one sperm cell can enter the ovum cell. When this happens, they combine their partial genetic information – each cell, the sperm and the ovum, contains half of the genetic code necessary for the development of a human being. This process is called fertilization.

Once this happens, the fertilized ovum travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus. Although the ovum is fertilized and has begun dividing, this is not sufficient for the formation of a baby. Once it reaches the uterus, it will implant itself into the endometrial lining. It is only once implantation occurs that pregnancy has officially begun. If implantation doesn’t occur, then the fertilized ovum will be passed, along with the sloughed off endometrial lining during the person’s next period. This occurs with the vast majority of fertilized ovum, even when those engaging in sexual activity are trying to get pregnant.

In fact, the relatively low rate of implantation is why during in vitro fertilization, multiple embryos will be introduced into the receptive uterus in the hopes that just one will implant itself.

Implantation occurs to allow for the parent body to provide the growing embryo with the necessary nutrients and ingredients to grow into a human body. Without those nutrients, the embryo cannot develop further and so dies.

Since the exact date of ovulation, fertilization, Implantation and so on is often unknown, the pregnancy is counted from the last period. Meaning a person who is six weeks pregnant, may have only actually gotten pregnant 4 weeks prior. This can actually result in funny situations where someone who has only had sex the month before can be considered 2 months pregnant.

What about an Ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is one in which the embryo implants itself somewhere other than the uterus.

The most common example is when the embryo tries to implant itself inside the fallopian tube. The embryo will continue to develop for some time, but eventually it will become too big and burst the tube. When this happens, it causes severe bleeding and both the developing embryo and the pregnant person will die. It is important for the incorrectly implanted embryo to be removed to prevent this from happening.

Sometimes the embryo will implant itself in other equally unsuitable or dangerous locations like the outside of the reproductive system. Regardless of where it implants, ectopic pregnancies are dangerous and not considered viable.

There is currently no way to make an ectopic pregnancy viable. The only choices are whether both die or whether the incorrectly implanted embryo is removed and the parent allowed to live.

The occurrence of an ectopic pregnancy is random chance.

Can Ectopic Pregnancies be re-implanted somewhere else?


The process of implantation the first time is already inconsistent and difficult, with most fertilized ova failing to do so successfully. As mentioned previously, it is so inconsistent that even with multiple embryos are introduced into the uterus, there is no guarantee that any of them will manage to do so successfully.

Once it is implanted, the embryo moves on to performing other functions necessary for development. If the connection is severed, either naturally or through external interference, then it cannot be re-established.

It’s like life support except where once you unplug it, there is no way to plug it back in before it’s too late.

What is a miscarriage?

A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a fetus or termination of a pregnancy. Most occur within the first few weeks of a pregnancy, often before the person is even aware they are pregnant.

They can be the result of a variety of different things including physical or emotional trauma, such as a fall, being the victim of violence, extreme emotional turmoil or stress. It can be the result of the body recognizing that a given fetus is not viable for a variety of reasons. It can be the result of exposure to certain chemicals or toxins. It can be the result of the parent being severely ill, or malnourished, or other unexpected or unknown internal changes or conditions.

In some cases, miscarriages can occur as an immune reaction, where the parent body treats the pregnancy as an infection or invasion. One example of this happening, for example, is when the fetus has a positive blood type and the parent has a negative one. The body reacts similarly to what happens when you receive the wrong blood-type. The body attempts to block off or remove the invading cells, resulting in the death of the fetus or it’s expulsion.

In the case of Henry the eighth who is well known for having divorced or beheaded multiple wives in a quest to have a son, it is believed that he was a carrier of the Kell gene which causes a progressively more severe immune reaction from the parent with each successive pregnancy. The inability to maintain a pregnancy was not the result of any deficiency on the part of the women he was having a sexual relationship with, but rather the result of his genetic contribution.

Sometimes miscarriages can occur without the person being aware they are happening. This is especially true when they take place very early on in the pregnancy before the individual has experienced any signs that they’ve conceived.

Certain conditions may make you more prone to having a miscarriage. For example, if I were to become pregnant during an active crohn’s flare, the chances of miscarriage are a lot higher.

Even if someone does everything correctly: nutrition, prenatal care, and so on, it is possible for miscarriages to still occur. They’re a natural part of reproduction and the best way to reduce their occurrence is to make sure the pregnant person has access to complete and regular prenatal care so that possible risk factors can be addressed early on.

Making miscarriages a potential crime, makes about as much sense as making developing arthritis a crime.

Why do people say pregnancy is risky?

Pregnancy is risky.

The process of pregnancy is physically very intensive. You are growing a new human being in there, and the only way they can get any of the things they need to develop is through you. Physically, a fetus really is akin to a parasite, in the sense that it provides a drain on resources, without making any contributions of its own, and regardless of whether draining those resources harms the host body.

There are structural changes that happen during pregnancy. Organs may shift, bones, joints, many of your own organs may be working overtime to do their regular work for two separate entities. The stress on these organs can sometimes cause them to fail or develop structural abnormalities. For example, some people develop gestational diabetes – meaning they develop diabetes for the duration of their pregnancy.

The awkward position of the growing pregnant belly can cause joint damage and put a strain on different muscles. The pressure from the expanding uterus could interfere with organ functionality and with circulation.

Additionally, the parent’s body is very susceptible to things happening to the fetus during development. There is something called mirror syndrome where a malfunction inside the fetus body causes the same sort of symptoms inside the parent body, so if the fetus has a failing kidney, the parent’s kidney will start to fail.

A miscarriage brings with it the risk of blood loss, as well as shock and infection in cases where not everything is properly expelled.

Pregnancy can often cause higher blood pressure and put strain on the heart.

Pregnant people are at higher risk of falls and of injuring themselves when they do.

There are a variety of conditions associated specifically with pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia.

The actual birth process can cause physical injuries to various parts of the body, it can cause infections, it can cause blood loss. Sometimes it requires surgery just to happen.

And these are just the physical risks.

In addition to all of these potential medical risks during pregnancy, there are a lot of social risks as well. It is not uncommon for pregnant people to risk job loss as companies don’t want to have to deal with the loss of work time associated with giving birth. Even though it is nominally against the law to fire someone for being pregnant, it’s not uncommon to find some pretense or another nonetheless. Unless it’s explicitly stated as being as a result of pregnancy, then it is very hard to prove in a court of law. Even when they are not fired directly, pregnancy often results in being overlooked for promotions and advancement. The assumption is that your priorities have shifted and so your willingness to devote yourself to your work has changed. They call it being mommy-tracked and it can happen even unconsciously.

Pregnant people are often at a higher risk of social isolation and so also have a higher risk of abuse and violence.

Additionally, pregnant people are treated as being public domain, with many having stories of having been touched by strangers without consent or having various habits commented on and judged. There are stories of people assaulting pregnant women over a cup of coffee, or being seen holding alcohol (regardless of whether it is for them or not.).

The mother mortality rates are a lot higher than people like to pretend, even in countries with functional health systems.

Pregnancy is Risky.

Why have you been saying pregnant people or Uterine system rather than mothers, women, and female reproductive system?

Because I like to try and be accurate in my language. The truth is that there are many different genders than might have a uterus. By calling it the female reproductive system, I would be saying that the configuration of our genitalia determines our gender or sex and not only would I be socially incorrect, but scientifically as well.

The conformation of someone’s genitalia is determined by many different factors and while sex chromosomes may be one of these factors, they are not alone. They’re only part of the equation, which includes among other things hormone sensitivities and insensitivities, uterine environment, and so on.
Additionally, while there may be a correlation between women and having this particular genital configuration, there is no causation, and vice versa. Gender is about a lot more than what one’s body might look like.


Understanding the Vulva: Part 2 – What the heck is an ectopic pregnancy?

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