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Ectopic pregnancy facts

  • An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy located outside the inner lining of the uterus.
  • The Fallopian tubes are the most common locations for an ectopic pregnancy.
  • The characteristic three symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are
    • abdominal pain,
    • absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea), and
    • vaginal bleeding.
  • However, only about 50% of women have all three of these symptoms.
  • Risk factors for ectopic pregnancy include previous ectopic pregnancies and conditions (surgery, infection) that disrupt the normal anatomy of the Fallopian tubes.
  • The major health risk of an ectopic pregnancy is rupture, leading to internal bleeding.
  • Ectopic pregnancy occurs in 1%-2% of all pregnancies.
  • Diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy is usually established by blood hormone tests and pelvic ultrasound.
  • Treatment options for ectopic pregnancy include both surgery and medication.
Return to Ectopic Pregnancy

See what others are saying

Comment from: subha, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 09

I had an ectopic pregnancy a year ago. As it was my first pregnancy, I didn't know about pregnancy much. A week after my periods I again got blood spots, it was increasing day by day. After two days, I suffered with fever as well. So I went to the doctor. She told me to go for blood test and scan. In scan, she could not find anything in my uterus, HCG level also was low. So they told me to wait for a week to see scan report again and were taking blood test frequently to know my situation. Once my HCG level started dropping, they scanned again and confirmed that I have ectopic pregnancy. They rushed me immediately to surgery on the same day night. My left tube was removed. The main symptom I had was left side of uterus was paining, and then spotting. I had severe breast pain after 10 to 15 days of pregnancy confirmation.

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Comment from: Jax, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 08

I had tried to get pregnant, the month I tried I was sure I had gotten pregnant as I had been pregnant 4 times prior and knew the pregnant feeling. So around the time my period was due, I was shocked to get up one night to spotting. I thought I must have been wrong and went on. A few days into my 'period' I still had that nagging pregnant feeling so I went and bought a test, and it turned positive immediately. I called my doctors because I was spotting; the period was just dark brown and only when I wiped. The nurse told me this was normal. About a week later I called back and insisted for blood work, again I was told spotting was normal but I pushed as I felt something was wrong, it didn't feel right. I had no pain at all or cramps but my intuition told me something wasn't right. After taking blood for a few days the nurse again told me I was fine, my levels were rising but not as fast as they would like but not bad either and this happens with some women. Still spotting and a nagging feeling something was very wrong I wanted to see the doctor immediately. He asked me if I had any pain and I said no, I didn't even have a single cramp. He said I was probably in the early stages of a miscarriage and sent me home. Over the next week I continued to spot brown but only on toilet paper when I wiped. I had an ultra sound scheduled for a previous cyst, it was just a follow up so I went and told the nurse the doctor told you to change this to a pregnancy ultra sound. During the ultra sound the nurse never said a word, she asked me to stay after so she could talk to her supervisor and asked if the doctor wanted the results right away. The nurse came back in and said that I needed to go with her to the emergency room (ER) right away, that I had an ectopic pregnancy, and it was going to burst at any second and that my life was at risk! Then I was wheeled into surgery and had my right tube taken. When I woke up from surgery in extreme pain, the surgeon came to show me pictures of the fetus because while in surgery they checked my other tube and found another ectopic in the other tube! I was devastated but lucky I guess, as the second fetus never thrived and died in the tubes. I'm still unsure of details after the initial shock but I was given a shot to break down second ectopic. I never got pregnant again, it's been 6 years.

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Comment from: sri, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 20

We are trying to have kids for the past 1 1/2 years. When I missed period I took HPT (home pregnancy test) after 7 days and it was positive. My husband and I were so happy and took a doctor's appointment for conformation. But after 2 scans she told us that the uterus is empty, it might be ectopic pregnancy and she asked for beta hCG blood test and they were low (2503, 2774, and 4183). We both were in a shock and she said that it is not clear whether it's a cyst or a sac as it appears as early pregnancy (I was 6 weeks 5 days pregnant and ultra-scan showed as if it was 4 weeks 2 days). And she suggested to have surgery before it's too late. But I have very few symptoms like left abdomen pain and lower back pain, so thinking take second opinion before surgery.

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