What is an ectopic pregnancy?
Normally, the fertilized egg settles and develops in the uterus. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg fails to make it all the way to the uterus and implants instead in the fallopian tube, ovary, cervix or abdomen. The problem is that none of those parts of your body can contain a growing baby. An ectopic pregnancy is a serious medical condition that can actually threaten a woman’s life.
What are the signs of an ectopic pregnancy?
The most common symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are abnormal bleeding and/or pelvic pain in the first trimester. If you experience any of these symptoms -- especially if you’re in a high-risk category -- contact your health care provider immediately. An undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy could rupture the fallopian tube (or other internal structure) and cause severe internal bleeding and permanent damage to your reproductive system.
Are there any tests for an ectopic pregnancy?
Yes. Your OB will likely do an ultrasound very early in your pregnancy to check baby’s positioning in your uterus. An ectopic pregnancy could also be considered a possibility during a pelvic exam or blood test. If the doc suspects an ectopic pregnancy, you’ll probably be ordered to undergo further testing, such as a D&C laparoscopy or laparotomy.
How common is an ectopic pregnancy?It happens in anywhere from 1 in 40 to 1 in 100 pregnancies.