Ectopic Pregnancy

Mar 2, 2024 | Pregnancy

Fertilized eggs are the first step in pregnancy. The fertilized egg typically adheres to the uterine lining. When a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the uterus’s main cavity, it is known as an ectopic pregnancy.

The most common location for an ectopic pregnancy is in the fallopian tube, which transports eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. A tubal pregnancy is the term for this kind of ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy can occasionally develop in other body parts, such as the ovary, the abdominal cavity, or the section of the uterus that attaches to the vagina (cervix).

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Extreme lightheadedness or fainting
  • Sharp waves of pain in the abdomen, pelvis, shoulder, or neck
  • Severe pain that occurs on one side of the abdomen
  • Rectal pressure


An ectopic pregnancy can cause your fallopian tube to burst open. Without treatment, the ruptured tube can lead to life-threatening bleeding. Ectopic Pregnancies in other locations can also lead to hemorrhaging and life threatening complications.

How do you treat an ectopic pregnancy?

Injection of methotrexate

Your doctor may recommend that you receive an injection of a medication called methotrexate. This medication works by halting the growth of the fertilized egg and ending the pregnancy. You will require close observation over the next several weeks to ensure the medication was successful. If the ectopic pregnancy persists after the injection, you may be a candidate to repeat the injection or the doctor may decide to proceed directly to surgery.


Surgery is sometimes required to remove an ectopic pregnancy. Through small incisions in your abdomen using a procedure called laparoscopy, most ectopic pregnancies can be removed. This is an outpatient procedure and the patient goes home on the same day and recovery is relatively rapid. Rarely a larger incision is required to remove the ectopic pregnancy. This procedure is called laparotomy and requires a few days in the hospital after surgery and a longer recovery time at home. Most people can conceive successfully and carry a pregnancy to term after an ectopic pregnancy whether the ectopic was treated with injection or surgery. The risk of another ectopic pregnancy is possible, so seeking medical care early in the following pregnancy is important.

An ectopic pregnancy might come as a shock and be frightening. You’re most likely experiencing a wide range of feelings, such as anxiety, and grief. Experiencing an ectopic pregnancy can be traumatizing, even if it was an unplanned pregnancy. As you work through your emotions, talking to your partner, your doctor, or a mental health professional may be beneficial. You will recover from an ectopic pregnancy in due course. If you intend to become pregnant in the future, make sure to discuss your risk of developing another ectopic pregnancy with your healthcare professional.

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