The viral video raising awareness of ectopic pregnancy

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 Photo: Facebook

Kerri Stedman, a 34 year-old mum, suffered an ectopic pregnancy in late 2015.

Devastated not only by her loss, but by the lack of support and awareness of the condition, Kerri decided to make a video detailing her story through the use of placards.

She then posted it on Facebook on February 2 this year.

Kerri, from the UK, wrote that she was "ecstatic" to discover she was pregnant in November 2015.

But on December 9 she started bleeding. Two days later, she had an ultrasound and was told the pregnancy was possibly ectopic.

Kerri was admitted to hospital. She collapsed and was rushed off to emergency surgery.

"Our baby died. I nearly died," she wrote.

"This is all we have left," she added, before holding up a picture of an ultrasound scan.

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While Kerri felt "numb" at the time, she says the grief hit later, with waves of guilt, sadness and anger.

"In the space of a few hours we had not only lost our baby but we lost our future plans," she writes on her JustGiving page

"I would never hear my baby cry, or see their first smile."

As she struggled to deal with these emotions, Kerri felt alone.

"There was nowhere to go for support. Just like there is no awareness. In memory of our baby, we want to change that."

Since posting her emotional video a few days ago, it has had over 90,000 views, along with hundreds of likes, shares and comments.

Many women have shared their own stories of ectopic pregnancy.

"This was such a scary and traumatising thing to go through," wrote one, with another saying it was the "worst thing" she'd ever experienced.

Ectopic pregnancies: the facts

Ectopic pregnancy accounts for 20 out of every 1000 pregnancies in Australia, says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Joseph Sgroi from RANZCOG.

For a pregnancy to continue, it needs to develop inside the womb (uterus). An ectopic pregnancy, on the other hand, is a pregnancy located outside the womb.

"Typically it is in the Fallopian tube, where fertilisation occurs. However, it can also be located on the cervix, ovary or a previous caesarean section scar."

Some women have no symptoms of ectopic pregnancy. Others may experience vaginal bleeding.

The only way you can know for sure if you have an ectopic pregnancy is to have an ultrasound to confirm the location of your pregnancy, says Dr Sgroi.

He says that women who smoke, or have a past history of pelvic inflammatory disease, are at higher risk of having an ectopic pregnancy.

Sadly, an ectopic pregnancy cannot continue to full term due to the potential dangers to the mother, says Dr Sgroi.

That's because, if a pregnancy is located in the fallopian tube, it can rupture the tube, leading to internal bleeding in the mother. That bleeding can be life threatening if not treated.

"Fortunately - if caught early - it can easily be treated," Dr Sgrio says.

Symptoms and treatment of ectopic pregnancy

If an ectopic pregnancy has ruptured, you may experience severe abdominal pain, light-headedness, or you may black out.

If you experience these symptoms and haven't yet had an ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy is in the uterus, call an ambulance immediately.

For ectopic pregnancies that haven't ruptured, there are two possible treatments.

Medical treatment, which requires you to have regular blood tests afterwards, may be possible if the pregnancy is small.

However, if there are concerns about bleeding, or the size of the pregnancy, Dr Sgroi says the "best and safest" option is to remove the ectopic pregnancy along with the fallopian tube (if that's where the pregnancy lies).

"This is often done through key hole surgery leaving very small scars."

Looking to the future

Dr Sgroi says women who have had this surgery have a 70 per cent chance of falling pregnant in the next two years.

However, he says the chances of having a further ectopic pregnancy after having one are around 15 per cent, which is why you will need early ultrasounds in future pregnancies.

Along with the medical complications, Dr Sgroi says that having an ectopic pregnancy can be a devastating loss.

For that reason, he encourages women to confide in a close friend or family member when finding out they're pregnant, so they have a "support structure" in place if needed.

To raise awareness and funds for ectopic pregnancy, Kerri is completing a 1000km challenge, which she plans to "walk/run" over a 12-month period.

Through this challenge, Kerri hopes she can turn her experience into "something positive".

"It might not help us, but if it prevents someone from feeling alone in the future I will be happier."

You can follow Kerri on Facebook or support her on her JustGiving page.