What Is Ectopic Pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube (tubal pregnancy).

It’s a non-viable pregnancy, meaning it will not be able to survive or be carried to term.

However, once implanted, an ectopic pregnancy can grow. If in a fallopian tube, this can lead to tubal rupture, when the fallopian tube bursts and potentially causes life-threatening bleeding.

How Common Are Ectopic Pregnancies?

Ectopic pregnancies happen in about 2% of pregnancies.

However, certain women may be more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy, such as those who:

  • Have had previous ectopic pregnancies
  • Have inflammation or infection, typically from STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhea
  • Have fertility treatments
  • Have had tubal surgery
  • Chose certain types of birth control like an IUD or tubal ligation
  • Smoke cigarettes

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

During an ectopic pregnancy, your pregnancy test will be positive. However, you may not realize you have an ectopic pregnancy.

There are both early warning signs and symptoms, as well as emergency symptoms.

Early in an ectopic pregnancy, you may experience light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain. If blood is leaking from a fallopian tube, you could also have shoulder pain or an urge to have a bowel movement.

Later on, if the ectopic pregnancy hasn’t been detected or treated, the fallopian tube can rupture. This condition can lead to heavy bleeding inside the abdomen and could include extreme lightheadedness, fainting, and shock.

It’s critical to seek emergency help if you believe you have signs or symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. In addition to lightheadedness and fainting, you could also have shoulder pain and severe abdominal or pelvic pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding.

Ultrasound Is the Key to Early Detection.

An ultrasound scan can detect an ectopic pregnancy. It can also identify how far along you are and whether or not your pregnancy is progressing or you have miscarried.

These details protect your health and enable you to receive treatment for conditions such as ectopic pregnancy.

At CareNet Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque, you can receive a free limited ultrasound during a confidential appointment. Schedule your free appointment today!