Ectopic Pregnancy

A normal pregnancy begins with the implantation of a fertilized egg into the lining of the uterus. In some cases, if the egg is implanted somewhere other than the uterus lining, for example in the ovary, abdomen, or cervix, such a pregnancy is called an ectopic pregnancy. 

An ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening for a mother as it can lead to excessive bleeding and damage to other organs. 

Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy 

There are some symptoms common in both ectopic and normal pregnancies. However, the following are common in an ectopic pregnancy and should be addressed immediately:

  • Dizziness
  • Rectal pressure 
  • Moderate to severe vaginal bleeding
  • An abdominal pain that varies in severity from mild to severe
  • Throbbing pain in the pelvic region, abdomen, shoulder, or neck

In case, you observe any of the above symptoms during your pregnancy, do not delay to consult the issue with a doctor and get immediate help.

Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy

The causes of an ectopic pregnancy are usually not so clear but the following factors may be linked with ectopic pregnancy:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Genetic anomalies
  • Tubal pregnancy, where the egg gets stuck in the fallopian tube and fails to reach the uterus due to damage to the fallopian tube leading to pregnancy 
  • Abnormal development of the fertilized egg
  • History of infertility

When to See a Doctor?

If you observe any of the symptoms like dizziness, moderate to severe vaginal bleeding, or pain in the abdomen, pelvic region, or shoulders, do not delay consulting a doctor.

Risk Factors of Ectopic Pregnancy

Some of the common risk factors of ectopic pregnancy are: 

  • Previous ectopic pregnancy – If you have already had an ectopic pregnancy, then you are more likely at risk of ectopic pregnancy in the next pregnancy.
  • Inflammation – Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia or gonorrhoea may increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Tubal surgeries – Surgery performed to correct the damage to fallopian tubes can make you more prone to ectopic pregnancy.
  • Smoking – Increases the chances of ectopic pregnancy and also may cause harm to the baby.
  • Maternal age – Women aged 35 years and above are at risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Complications of Ectopic Pregnancy

Without the appropriate diagnosis and management, ectopic pregnancy may prove to be fatal for the mother. Ectopic pregnancy is associated with numerous complications including:

  • Internal bleeding – A pregnancy that takes place in the fallopian tubes causes the tubes to stretch beyond a limit leading to heavy internal bleeding along with severe damage to organs.
  • Hypovolemic shock – A fatal condition in which excessive internal bleeding affects the pumping capacity of the heart.
  • Death – It is reported that first-trimester ectopic pregnancy is the most common cause of maternal death. 

Can Ectopic Pregnancy Be Prevented?

Prediction of an ectopic pregnancy is practically not possible. However, you can reduce the chances of ectopic pregnancy by:

  • maintaining good reproductive health,
  • limiting sex partners to avoid STDs,
  • making regular visits to your doctor,
  • maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

Treatment for Ectopic Pregnancy

Once confirmed, early ectopic pregnancy can be prevented by medications that help to stop cell growth and dissolve existing cells.

Surgical treatment involves Salpingectomy, a surgical procedure via which one or both fallopian tubes are extracted. Another surgical procedure is Saplingostomy, in which the ectopic pregnancy is excluded and the tube is left to heal.


Ectopic pregnancy requires more knowledge and importance due to its high occurrence and its consequences on maternal health. The chances of ectopic pregnancy cannot be prevented but the complications surely can be reduced by early diagnosis and management. 

Therefore, it is important to schedule regular visits to your doctor as it may help in early diagnosis( via ultrasonography) and conservative treatment. Moreover, you should always seek medical advice before planning your pregnancy to combat any underlying cause that can promote ectopic pregnancy. Consider these small steps to make your pregnancy safe, successful, and cheerful.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Amritsar - Abadi Court Road. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. Can an ectopic pregnancy affect my future pregnancies too?

If you have had an ectopic pregnancy then there is a higher risk of its recurrence in the future, but proper guidance, regular visits to your obstetrician, and a constant check on symptoms may save you and your baby from complications.

2. How can ectopic pregnancy be diagnosed?

An ectopic pregnancy is usually diagnosed with associated symptoms like fainting attack, collapse, and intra-abdominal haemorrhage. Ectopic pregnancy is further confirmed through blood tests and an ultrasound scan.

3. How do I know if I have an ectopic pregnancy?

Some common symptoms of ectopic pregnancy include abnormal vaginal bleeding, severe pain in the lower back, and cramping of one side of the pelvis along with pain in the abdomen, pelvic area, and shoulders. These symptoms are usually not seen in normal pregnancies.

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