Once you arrive at the hospital, a pregnancy test, a pelvic exam, and an ultrasound test may be performed to view the uterus’ condition and fallopian tubes.
Sometimes it is too soon to detect a pregnancy through ultrasound. If the diagnosis is in question, your doctor might monitor your condition with blood tests until the ectopic pregnancy can be confirmed or ruled out through ultrasound — usually by four to five weeks after conception.
In an emergency situation — if you’re bleeding heavily, for example — an ectopic pregnancy might be diagnosed and treated surgically.
Medicine can only be used for early ectopic pregnancies that have not ruptured. Depending on where the ectopic growth is and what type of surgery would otherwise be used, medicine may be less likely than surgical treatment to cause fallopian tube damage.
For an ectopic pregnancy that is more developed, surgery is a safer and more dependable treatment.
Methotrexate is used to stop the growth of an early ectopic pregnancy. It can also be used after surgical ectopic treatment to ensure that all ectopic cell growth has stopped.
If your blood type is Rh-negative, Rh immunoglobulin may be used to protect any future pregnancies against Rh sensitization.
In other cases, ectopic pregnancy is usually treated with laparoscopic surgery. In this procedure, a small incision is made in the abdomen, near or in the navel. Then your doctor uses a thin tube equipped with a camera lens and light (laparoscope) to view the area.
If the ectopic pregnancy is causing heavy bleeding or the fallopian tube has ruptured, you might need emergency surgery through an abdominal incision (laparotomy). In some cases, the fallopian tube can be repaired. Typically, however, a ruptured tube must be removed.
Your doctor will monitor your HCG levels after surgery to be sure all of the ectopic tissue was removed. If HCG levels don’t come down quickly, an injection of methotrexate may be needed.