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 in the cervix, an ovary, or the belly.

Ectopic Pregnancy
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Causes

A problem with the fallopian tubes causes this to happen.

Risk Factors

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

Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Prior tubal surgery, such as tubal ligation
  • Prior ectopic pregnancy
  • History of infertility
  • Prior genital infection, such as chlamydia
  • Smoking

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Symptoms

A missed period is the first sign.

A woman may also have belly pain and spotty bleeding.

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A pelvic exam will be done.

Blood tests and urine tests will be done to look for signs of pregnancy.

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

Treatments

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to remove the ectopic pregnancy. Choices are:

  • Medicine to stop an early, unruptured pregnancy from progressing
  • Surgery to remove a ruptured pregnancy or one that is not in the fallopian tube
  • Surgery to remove a pregnancy from a fallopian tube and repair or remove the tube

Prevention

There are no known guidelines to prevent an ectopic pregnancy.

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 website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/ectopic-pregnancy. Accessed October 15, 2020.

Ectopic pregnancy. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/abnormalities-of-pregnancy/ectopic-pregnancy. Accessed October 15, 2020.

Ectopic pregnancy. Planned Parenthood website. Available at: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/ectopic-pregnancy. Accessed October 15, 2020.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). Diagnosis and Management of Ectopic Pregnancy: Green-top Guideline No. 21. BJOG. 2016 Dec;123(13):e15-e55.