Ectopic Pregnancy: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 5/21/2021

Ectopic pregnancy refers to the implantation of a fertilized egg at another location in the reproductive tract outside of the woman's uterus. The most common location for an ectopic pregnancy is the fallopian tubes.

An ectopic pregnancy may not initially cause any specific symptoms or signs. When symptoms and signs develop, the three characteristics symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are abdominal pain, absence of menstrual periods (known as amenorrhea), and vaginal bleeding. Only about half of women have all three of these symptoms. An ectopic pregnancy can be a life-threatening medical emergency if it ruptures and causes internal bleeding.

Cause of ectopic pregnancy

Doctors do not always understand the cause of an ectopic pregnancy, but damage or scarring to the fallopian tubes may play a role.

Other ectopic pregnancy symptoms and signs

Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.