What Is An Ectopic Pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a pregnancy is growing in the wrong place—most commonly in the fallopian tube—but can also be outside the uterus in the abdomen. It can be life-threatening if the fallopian tube ruptures and bleeding begins. This can cause infection and result in a medical emergency. Ectopic pregnancies happen in fewer than 200,000 women per year (or 2% of pregnancies yearly). 1
Signs & Symptoms
Sides effects of an ectopic pregnancy include pelvic pain (usually on one side of the abdomen), lower back pain that continues to worsen, low blood pressure, shortness of breath, or vaginal bleeding. Other symptoms can include feeling lightheaded or dizzy.
There are a few factors that can contribute to a higher chance of having an ectopic pregnancy.
Some of the risk factors include the following:
- Previous ectopic pregnancy
- Previous abdominal surgery
- Certain sexually transmitted infections
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Endometriosis 2
How Can I Stay Safe?
An ultrasound is the standard care to locate a pregnancy and measure for correct gestational age, as well as for fetal heart motion (or viability). Especially if considering an abortion, the best practice is to have an ultrasound at 6 weeks gestation. This can rule out an ectopic pregnancy, determine the correct dating (as it can sometimes be different from the last menstrual period dating), and see if the pregnancy is viable & progressing (or if a miscarriage is happening).
If you have further questions, make sure to contact a medical professional and specifically ask for an ultrasound. Many pregnancy resource centers will provide ultrasounds at no cost.
1 & 2 – Visit https://www.acog.org/en/womens-health/faqs/ectopic-pregnancy for more info