An ectopic pregnancy happens when the embryo implants outside of the uterus. Most often this occurs in the Fallopian tubes and is sometimes called a tubal pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancies are nonviable and also pose serious threats to a woman’s health. Keep reading to learn about the signs and what to do if you think your pregnancy is ectopic.
In normal pregnancies, the embryo (fertilized egg) attaches to your uterine lining. This process is called implantation. Once the embryo is attached, the placenta is formed and the pregnancy can continue to grow.
The word “ectopic” means out of place.
In ectopic pregnancies, the fertilized egg attaches outside of the uterus. A tubal pregnancy (located in the Fallopian tube where the egg is supposed to be carried from the ovaries to the uterus) is nonviable and pose serious health complications. Medical care is required.
What Causes Ectopic Pregnancies?
According to the March of Dimes, ectopic pregnancies happen in about 1 out of every 50 pregnancies in the U.S.
Any woman can have an ectopic pregnancy, and there’s no way to prevent one. The following risk factors, however, can make it more likely:
- PID (pelvic inflammatory disease)
- Smoking cigarettes
- STIs (sexually transmitted infections)
- Being older than 35
- Having multiple sexual partners
Signs of an Ectopic Pregnancy
It’s difficult to tell right away if your pregnancy is ectopic or not because you’ll experience normal pregnancy symptoms.
As the pregnancy continues, you may begin to experience issues like:
- Light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain
- Upset stomach and vomiting
- Sharp abdominal cramps
- Pain in your shoulder, neck, lower back, or rectum
- Dizziness or fainting
An ultrasound is the best way to know for sure if you have an ectopic pregnancy. It will generate images that reveal where your pregnancy is so you can seek proper treatment.
We offer pregnancy services like ultrasounds to the women in our community at no cost so they can get the answers they need about their pregnancies. If you suspect you have an ectopic pregnancy or have questions about your pregnancy, we can help.
Contact us to schedule your no-cost, confidential appointment today.