Ectopic Pregnancy



The most common cause is a problem with the fallopian tubes.

Risk Factors

Ectopic pregnancy is more common in females who are 40 years of age or older.

Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Past tubal surgery, such as tubal ligation
  • Past ectopic pregnancy
  • A history of infertility
  • Past genital infections, such as chlamydia
  • Smoking



A missed period is the first sign.

A woman may also have belly pain and spotty bleeding.


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

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

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



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


Other than taking steps not to get pregnant, there are no known methods to prevent 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.