What Is Intrauterine Pregnancy?

What Is Intrauterine Pregnancy?

It may come as no surprise that there are quite a few different ways pregnancy can be carried to term across animals and humans. The most common type that likely comes to mind is mammalian birth or one in which a mother develops the embryo in a uterus and delivers a live offspring. This type of birth is the normal pregnancy cycle we humans are born from, known as intrauterine pregnancy. But what is intrauterine pregnancy exactly, and how does it differ from other types of pregnancies?

Today, we will discuss the different types of pregnancies and why intrauterine is essential for a successful full-term pregnancy.

Intrauterine Pregnancy

Intrauterine pregnancy (IUP) is typically defined as the presence of a gestational sac found in the uterine lining, containing either a yolk sac or a fetal pole, the beginning stage of a developing embryo. When an ovary, or egg cell, in a female is fertilized, it immediately begins to move down the fallopian tubes and make its way to the uterus, where it eventually burrows and implants itself to the uterine wall and continues cell division. The embryo must attach itself to the uterus wall, as it houses and provides the necessary blood and nutrients it will need to grow. The uterus itself can also enlarge and flex to accommodate the increased size of the growing fetus in the later periods of gestation.

Essentially, intrauterine pregnancy is the type of pregnancy that most are familiar with and is the type of pregnancy necessary for complete fetal development.

What Is Extrauterine Pregnancy?

A normal, healthy gestation requires the egg to attach to the uterus and result in an intrauterine pregnancy. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In some cases, the fertilized egg may not make its way to the uterus and instead implant in another location, most commonly the fallopian tube. This is known as an ectopic or extrauterine pregnancy. The egg is an invasive cell by nature and will begin the process of implantation and development regardless of whether or not it is in the correct location. This is problematic if it grows in an area with no sufficient room for the placenta to form, as the fallopian tubes have no capability of expanding. Instead, the tubes could burst and cause severe bleeding, requiring immediate medical attention because it can be life-threatening. An egg might also implant itself in other locations such as the cervix or ovaries.

In the event of extrauterine pregnancy, the fetus will not be able to develop, making the pregnancy an unsuccessful one.

Around 1 in 50 pregnancies in the United States are extrauterine pregnancies. Possible risk factors for women include age (over 35), lifestyle habits (smoking, drinking), endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and even previous ectopic surgery. Women who have had an extrauterine pregnancy can still experience a normal pregnancy later in life but have about a 15 percent chance of another occurring. Although healthy lifestyle changes are always encouraged, there is no way to prevent an extrauterine pregnancy from occurring in women.

How Can An Intrauterine Pregnancy Be Identified?

An intrauterine pregnancy can only be confirmed with an ultrasound as early as five weeks after conception. A medical professional will perform a transvaginal scan to look for a gestational sac inside the uterus and determine if there is an embryo forming. Around six weeks, a heartbeat can be detected, and a prognosis can determine if the embryo is healthy enough to carry to full term over the next few weeks, depending on the heartbeat rate.

Once an intrauterine pregnancy can be confirmed by ultrasound, expectant parents can start to plan for the baby's arrival. Nine months may seem like a long time, but it is never too early to start financially preparing for your baby or coming up with a birth plan. Birth plans are usually discussed with doctors or midwives. They can include things like place of delivery (hospital or home birth) and whether or not you will be preserving (or donating) the stem-cell-rich cord blood from your baby's umbilical cord. This process is known as cord blood banking, and collection takes place immediately after birth, which is why plans should be made months in advance. If you have questions about cord blood banking, please do not hesitate to contact us at Alphacord.