An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than inside the uterus. Most cases occur in the fallopian tube and are thus sometimes called tubal pregnancies. The fallopian tubes are not designed to hold a growing embryo; thus, the fertilized egg in a tubal pregnancy cannot develop properly and must be treated. An ectopic pregnancy happens in 1 out of 50 pregnancies. The following symptoms may be used to help recognize a potential ectopic pregnancy:
- Sharp or stabbing pain that may come and go and vary in intensity. (The pain may be in the pelvis, abdomen, or even the shoulder and neck due to blood from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy pooling under the diaphragm).
- Vaginal bleeding, heavier or lighter than your normal period
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Weakness, dizziness, or fainting
Frequently Asked Questions
Although all sexually active women are at the risk of ectopic pregnancy, some risk factors include a history of endometriosis, women conceiving after the age of 35, a history of ectopic pregnancy before, etc.
A transvaginal ultrasound may be advised to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy.
If not severe, an ectopic pregnancy is treated with either medication or surgery.