PREGNANCY, ECTOPIC - Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Medications


An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus. Normally, pregnancy begins with a fertilized egg and it attaches to the uterus lining.

More often, ectopic pregnancy occurs in the fallopian tube, which carries eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

Tubal pregnancy is a type of ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy sometimes happens in ovary, abdominal cavity or the lower part of the uterus (cervix), which connects to the vagina.

An ectopic pregnancy cannot normally happen. The fertilized egg can’t survive, and the growing tissue may be a reason for life-threatening bleeding if not treated immediately.



You may not notice anything at first. However, some women with ectopic pregnancy have the usual early signs or symptoms of pregnancy — a missed period, breast tenderness and nausea.

Ectopic pregnancy cannot be noticed immediately by its signs and symptoms, but it is almost the same with all pregnancies.  An ultrasound is the best way to identify an ectopic pregnancy.

When the fertilized egg continues to grow improperly, signs and symptoms will increase.

Early warning signs of ectopic pregnancy:

  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Ectopic pregnancy blood leaks
  • Increasing abdominal pain
  • Urge to have a bowel movement
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • Heavy bleeding(hemorrhage)
  • You may feel shoulder pain as blood fills your pelvis and abdomen

Your specific symptoms depend on where the blood collects and which nerves are affected.

Emergency symptoms

A tube rupture will occur when the fertilized egg continues to grow in the fallopian tube.It causes heavy bleeding inside the abdomen.

 Symptoms of this life-threatening event include:


Pelvic exam. This will help doctors identify areas of pain, tenderness, or a mass in the fallopian tube or ovary. However, doctors can’t still diagnose that you have an ectopic pregnancy with this exam.Certain blood tests and an ultrasound are needed.

Pregnancy test. This is needed to confirm that you are really pregnant. This test will be repeated every few days. After five to six days, ultrasound testing will confirm that you have ectopic pregnancy.

Transvaginal ultrasound. This is the best way to identify if you have ectopic pregnancy. The doctor will be able to see which part of the body the pregnancy happened. You and your doctor can see the pictures of your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, in a nearby monitor.

Abdominal ultrasound. A wand is moved over your belly to evaluate your pregnancy and to see internal bleeding.

Blood test. Your blood type will be checked in case of you need blood transfusion. It will also check if you have anemia and other signs of blood loss.


Ectopic tissue needs to be removed immediately to avoid life-threatening complications. The fertilized egg can’t normally develop outside your uterus.

Below are the treatments for ectopic pregnancy:

Medication. A medication called methotrexate is injected to a woman with ectopic pregnancy without unstable bleeding. This helps stops cell growth and dissolves existing cells. After that, an HCG test will be requested by your doctor to determine if the treatment is working and if you need another medication.

Laparoscopic surgery. A small incision is made in the abdomen, near or in the navel. A thin tube with a camera lens and light (laparoscope) is inserted to view the tubal area.

Emergency surgery.An abdominal incision (laparotomy) is needed if ectopic pregnancy is causing heavy bleeding.

Related Articles


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Hidradenitis suppurativa, commonly known as acne inversa, is a skin disorder [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts A womb biopsy involves the removal of a tiny amount of [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Wilms' tumor, commonly called nephroblastoma, is a kind of childhood kidney [...]