Ectopic Pregnancy – All you Need to Know

11th May 2022

In the case of a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. However, the same is not true for ectopic pregnancy.

An ectopic pregnancy, also known as extrauterine pregnancy, happens when a fertilized egg implants and develops outside the main cavity of the uterus.

Ectopic pregnancy usually occurs in a fallopian tube (A tube that carries eggs from the ovaries to the uterus). This condition is called a tubal pregnancy.

It sometimes also happens in other body areas, such as the ovary, abdominal cavity, or cervix (lower part of the uterus).

It can cause fatal bleeding and requires medical care at the earliest.

In this article, we shall understand Ectopic pregnancy and related concepts in detail.

How Severe is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

The uterus is meant to hold a growing foetus. It can expand and stretch as the foetusgrow. However, your fallopian tubes aren’t that flexible. A foetusimplant in them can burst them open.

This results in heavy internal bleeding, which can be life-threatening.

Hence, an ectopic pregnancy needs medical care at the earliest to avoid injury to the fallopian tube and other organs in the abdominal cavity.


The exact cause of ectopic pregnancy is still unknown. Following conditionshave been mostly linked with ectopic pregnancy.

  • Birth defects
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Hormonal factors
  • Have sexually transferred infection
  • Inflammation of the fallopian tubes

An ectopic pregnancy usually develops within the first few weeks of the pregnancy.

Early symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Lethargy
  • Shoulder, neck or arm pain

Different tests are performed to first confirm pregnancy and then look for ectopic pregnancy.

Some of these tests are:

  • Blood test: This is done to identify the amount of human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG, a hormone produced during pregnancy) present in your body.
  • Urine test: This involves either urinating on a test strip or urinating in a cup for the strip to be dipped in it.
  • Ultrasound test: Ultrasound is usually used during pregnancy. This is done to see where the fertilized egg has been implanted.

Ectopic pregnancies are lethal. Hence, it’s absolutely critical for the embryo to be removed as soon as possible for protecting the mother’s overall health.

Treatment options differ based on the development and the location of the ectopic pregnancy.

  • Medication: Your healthcare provider can prescribe various medications that could prevent the ectopic mass from bursting. One such common medicine is Methotrexate.
  • Surgery: Your doctor may also suggest removing the embryo and repairing any internal injury. This is known as a laparotomy.

In this procedure, the surgeon will insert a small camera through a small incision so that they can see their work. The embryo is then removed and any damage to the fallopian tube or any other organ is repaired.

Can I Prevent the development of Ectopic Pregnancy?

The prevention of an ectopic pregnancy is usually not possible. But one can surely reduce the risk factors by living a healthy lifestyle.

Moreover, ensure you use a condom during sex. This can help to reduce the risk for STDs, and in turn, avoid PID (a condition that can cause swelling in the fallopian tubes).

Pay consistent visits to your doctor and have regular gynaecological exams and STD screenings. Try to quit or at least limit smoking as much as possible.

Final words

One can generally have a baby after an ectopic pregnancy. You can also try assisted fertility procedures, in which the egg is extracted from the ovary, fertilized outside, and then implanted inside the uterus (In-vitro fertilisation).

However, the risk of ectopic pregnancies is higher after you had one.

Engage in an open conversation regarding the same with a fertility expert. You both can devise some plans and follow ways to lower any risk factors you have.


Though all attempts are made to provide correct information on the subject, inadvertent & typographical errors arising out of manual intervention cannot be ruled out. It is requested to bring any such discrepancies to the notice of the blogger for correction.

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