Ectopic Pregnancy

Overview

Definition

An ectopic pregnancy happens outside of the womb. It cannot survive. Most happen within a fallopian tube. It can also happen the cervix, an ovary, or the abdomen.

Ectopic Pregnancy
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Causes

A problem with the fallopian tubes causes this to happen.

Risk Factors

It is more common in women who are 40 years of age or older.

These things may raise your risk:

  • Prior tubal surgery, such astubal ligation
  • Prior ectopic pregnancy
  • History of infertility
  • Prior genital infection, such as chlamydia
  • Smoking
  • Using an intrauterine device (IUD)

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Symptoms

A missed period is the first sign.

You may also have:

  • Belly pain
  • Spotty bleeding

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms. You will also be asked about your health history. A physical exam will be done.

Blood tests and urine tests will be done.

Pictures may be taken. This can be done with an ultrasound.

Treatments

Treatment

You may be monitored or you may have:

Medications

If the pregnancy is small and has not ruptured (burst), you may be given a medicine to stop it from growing.

Surgery

Surgery may be needed if the pregnancy has ruptured or if it is not in the fallopian tube. The pregnancy will be removed.

If the pregnancy is in the fallopian tube, the doctor may be able to fix the tube. In severe cases, the tube may need to be removed.

Prevention

To lower the chance of this condition:

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Always use a condom during sex.
  • Limit sex to one partner.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (Tubal Pregnancy)

RESOURCES

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org 

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org 

Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca 

References

Ectopic pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115772/Ectopic-pregnancy . Updated July 24, 2018. Accessed August 7, 2018.

Ectopic pregnancy. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/abnormalities-of-pregnancy/ectopic-pregnancy. Updated Octrober 2017. Accessed August 7, 2018.

Ectopic pregnancy. Planned Parenthood website. Available at: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/ectopic-pregnancy. Accessed August 7, 2018.

4/22/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115772/Ectopic-pregnancy : Creanga AA, Shapiro-Mendoza CK, Bish CL, Zane S, Berg CJ, Callaghan WM. Trends in ectopic pregnancy mortality in the United States: 1980-2007. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;117(4):837-843.