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Remy Ma’s Ectopic Pregnancy

July 18, 2018
Katie Visco

Remy Ma, one of the few female American rappers who has reached a level of mass fame in a male-dominated industry, has been in headlines for her music, a shooting scandal for which she spent six years in prison, a feud with Nicki Minaj, and more endearingly, her adorable relationship with her husband Shamele Mackie (stage name Papoose). In January 2017 of last year, though, news was circulating about her miscarriage due to an ectopic pregnancy.

It’s somewhat of a relief when a celebrity speaks out about their experiences because they say the things that come to mind that ring true with us, but that oftentimes, we won’t say. As miscarriage is a common phenomenon, Remy Ma’s experience with this is applicable to many women. Read further to learn about:

  • Remy Ma’s Experience
  • Ectopic Pregnancies
  • Miscarriages in General

Ectopic Pregnancies

What is it?

Though most miscarriages are due to genetic abnormalities, physical complications are also a leading cause. An ectopic pregnancy partakes of this category. In a normal pregnancy, once the egg is fertilized, it travels through the fallopian tube to attach to the lining of the uterus, where the baby will develop. In an ectopic or tubal pregnancy, the fertilized egg becomes lodged in the fallopian tube and begins develop in that very small space. Though in 95% of cases, the egg lodges in the tube, it can also lodge in the ovary, cervix, or abdominal cavity. Though ectopic pregnancies are somewhat uncommon, occurring in 1-2% of all pregnancies, they are the leading cause of death to the mother in the first trimester of pregnancy. So it can be a serious complication.

pregnancy chart
(Photo: Courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Why? Risk Factors

Ultimately, we do not know why ectopic pregnancies occur, but we do know of some risk factors that seem to contribute to their likelihood:

  • Previous ectopic pregnancy
  • Inflammation or infection in tubes or nearby organs
  • Birth defect in fallopian tubes
  • Tubal surgery
  • Scarring after a ruptured appendix or past infections and surgeries
  • Endometriosis
  • Pregnancy after having your tubes tied
  • Getting pregnant while using an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Being over 35
  • Smoking
  • Having had many sexual partners
  • Some infertility treatments

In Remy’s case, she miscarried previously in her teens due to an ectopic pregnancy so that her chances of another ectopic pregnancy were higher; she was also 36 at the time of the miscarriage. However, it is impossible to say what caused her first ectopic pregnancy.

Prevention

Preventing a miscarriage is tricky business; the short answer in most cases is simply that you can’t. However, doctors do stress putting some key elements of your health in order if you are likely to get pregnant, trying to, or are pregnant already. Parents.com offers some advice from an expert:

"Generally, I advise that women considering pregnancy see their OB/GYN to review chronic conditions and medications, begin prenatal vitamins 2 to 3 months prior to trying to conceive, ensure that all their vaccines are up-to-date, review their diet and ensure they limit or eliminate alcohol and caffeine in their diets," recommends Stephanie Zobel, M.D., an OB-GYN with Winnie Palmer Hospital. "Women who smoke or use recreational drugs are advised to quit."

Taking care of high blood sugar and verifying the safety of all medicines you’re on with your doctor is also advised.  

Symptoms and Diagnoses

Symptoms include pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding or spotting, absence of a menstrual cycle, abdominal pain, and shoulder pain. However, these symptoms can also occur in a healthy pregnancy. Still, you must report them to a doctor anyway, as an ectopic pregnancy is life threatening. Symptoms usually appear six to eight weeks after the last menstrual cycle and could occur alongside symptoms of a normal pregnancy such as nausea, breast tenderness, mood swings, etc., as the body is still undergoing the usual hormonal changes of a healthy pregnancy.

If an ectopic pregnancy has progressed for too long and has ruptured, the woman might experience weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, and low blood pressure. At this point, the woman’s life is at risk, so it’s vital that you address early symptoms by consulting a doctor. It’s also important to note that an ectopic pregnancy can occur even if you are on birth control, hence the use of an IUD as a risk factor. Therefore, don’t ignore symptoms if you think a pregnancy is unlikely.

Further, symptoms can vary. Remy Ma explained the symptoms of her first ectopic pregnancy that she experienced as a teenager on the American talk show The Real: “The bad thing with me is that this happened to me before when I was a kid. I was a teenager the first time I got pregnant. And I had an ectopic pregnancy then…I literally passed out. Like I thought I just had bad cramps and I passed out.”

She noted that with her second ectopic pregnancy, though, the symptoms were not nearly as severe so that she was not as certain of their seriousness. Therefore, there is some variable in symptoms.

emergency

Treatment

As of today’s medicine, there is no way to dislodge the fetus and guide it to the uterus.  If left alone, an ectopic pregnancy would rupture the part of the body it is trapped in—most often, the fallopian tube—causing internal bleeding and a medical emergency. Not only would it risk the mother’s death, but almost definitely the fetus’s so that in almost all cases—despite some fluke situations in which women successfully gave birth—the fetus must be terminated.

In Remy’s case, doctors removed the fallopian tube the fetus was lodged in at each pregnancy so that now, Remy cannot have a child naturally as both of her fallopian tubes have been surgically removed. However, before her most recent miscarriage, she did conceive naturally and successfully, as her son Jayson testifies to, so that one ectopic pregnancy does not indefatigably mean another.

Remy Ma

Whenever celebrities open up about their personal hardships, they can lend a lot of support to the average person. Remy Ma’s transparency in openly stating her emotional reaction to her miscarriage is an encouragement to other women experiencing the same difficulty.

Though the rapper’s life is featured on Love & Hip Hop so that her time in the hospital after the fetus was terminated was filmed,she went beyond this, even, and videoed her own announcement to the public about the termination. In a grainy, down to earth video in which the Remy isn’t wearing makeup, she is being as real as possible.

Remy Ma expressed the wide array of emotions that follow a miscarriage, but perhaps her comments reflecting the common emotions of anger and depression are the greatest comfort to women: "It seems like, no matter what we do, all the worst stuff just happens,” she told her husband. “It doesn’t make sense. Everybody else’s baby is fine. Everybody else that’s pregnant, they all fine. Why mine’s couldn’t be fine?” she said from her hospital bed on Love & Hip Hop.

woman crying in hospital bed
(Photo: Courtesy of MadameNoire.com)

Later, when reflecting on her miscarriage, she expressed personal guilt, another common reaction. “I promised my husband that I would give him the child that he’s been asking me for since almost the day he met me and I can’t do that any more. I can’t.”

Best of all, though, Remy has looked to the positive. She said in the caption of her Instagram video at the hospital: "I was totally against it but in a fit of crying @papoosepapoose said 'you are not the only one going thru this , we will get thru it' ...made me realize how many women like myself experience the same thing and don't have a strong partner by their side to say it will be alright. So I'm here to tell anyone going thru a similar situation that it is not over and God has the last say."

Miscarriages

Miscarriages are common, as they account for 15-20% of pregnancies. They are a different kind of challenge from infertility alone, as almost 20% of women exhibit symptoms of anxiety and depression after a miscarriage with symptoms persisting for one to three years. Women with a history of infertility are especially vulnerable to deeper psychiatric struggles along with younger women and those of lower socioeconomic status, according to an article published on NCBI’s website.

Women who do not have adequate coping skills struggle more psychologically after a miscarriage so that it is incredibly important that they not only have a support system and allow themselves to grieve, but that they receive psychological help from a professional if necessary.

However, the good news is that 50-80% of women who have had a miscarriage become pregnant again. Even though Remy Ma cannot naturally conceive, she and Papoose are investigating in vitro fertilization, which would still allow them to have a child of their own despite the removal of Remy Ma’s fallopian tubes.

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