Commonly referred to as an extrauterine pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy is a fairly common complication of pregnancy where a fertilized egg implants and begins to grow outside of the womb, typically in the fallopian tubes.
While ectopic pregnancies can occur without a known cause, they are often due to a health condition or prior medical procedure that has caused scarring in the fallopian tubes. Scarring can cause the fertilized egg to get stuck in the fallopian tubes where it will then implant.
Health conditions related to ectopic pregnancies include:
Unfortunately, ectopic pregnancies are nonviable and cannot be moved to the uterus to grow as a normal pregnancy. If left untreated, ectopic pregnancies can cause severe bleeding and can be potentially fatal.
Initially, ectopic pregnancies can often go unnoticed as they are sometimes asymptomatic or are accompanied by symptoms akin to a normal pregnancy, such as a missed period, nausea, or changes and tenderness in the breasts and nipples.
Symptoms typically become more noticeable the longer the fertilized egg grows in the fallopian tubes.
Contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain.
An ectopic pregnancy can rupture, causing internal bleeding. Go to the nearest Emergency Room if you experience any of these symptoms:
Knowing if you’re pregnant with an ectopic pregnancy can be difficult, which is why it’s essential to receive an ultrasound scan upon receiving a positive pregnancy test. An ultrasound will be able to reveal the location of your pregnancy.
If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and considering abortion, it’s important to rule out the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy as an abortion procedure could cause further complications.
Palm Beach Women’s Clinic provides no-cost and confidential pregnancy testing, ultrasound scans, and STD/STI testing and treatment at both of our convenient locations in Palm Beach County!
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2. Bhattacharya, S. et al. Reproductive outcomes following induced abortion: a national register-based cohort study in Scotland. BMJ Open. 2, (2012).