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School of Medicine
What is an ectopic pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tubes, instead of the uterus. This is extremely dangerous, as the tube can burst, endangering a woman’s life and future reproductive health.
What are the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy?
- Irregular vaginal bleeding
- Breast tenderness (which is also a symptom of early pregnancy)
- Cramping or pain in the pelvis, especially on one side
- Sharp pain felt in one shoulder
- Shock – if the tube bursts
If you experience any acute pelvic or abdominal pain in early pregnancy, please proceed to the closest emergency room for evaluation. If this is a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.
How are ectopic pregnancies treated?
Your doctor may perform surgery, a laparoscopy or a laparotomy, to remove the ectopic pregnancy. Alternatively, if the ectopic pregnancy has not ruptured, medical treatment may be an option. Your doctor will discuss this with you.
We have been trying to get pregnant for months. I am devastated about losing this pregnancy.
Any pregnancy loss is difficult for a couple who are dreaming of their new baby. However, many women are able to conceive naturally after an ectopic pregnancy and go on to have healthy babies.
My doctor was unable to save one tube. Can I still get pregnant?
Yes. As long as one of your fallopian tubes is still present, you may still be able to get pregnant on your own. It may take longer to conceive.