What to Do if You Have Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms

Ectopic Pregnancy Illustration
Illustration of a Tubal Ectopic Pregnancy. Image © A.D.A.M.

Ectopic pregnancy, sometimes called tubal pregnancy, is a situation in which the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than in the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies are not viable and can be life-threatening in some cases.

In the early stages, before an ectopic pregnancy reaches the point of being dangerous, an ectopic pregnancy might not have any notable symptoms other than typical pregnancy symptoms.

Women sometimes have spotting and may have mild cramping that is located toward one side of the lower abdomen, but not everyone who has a tubal pregnancy has these symptoms early on, and these symptoms do not always mean an ectopic pregnancy.

If you are worried about very early signs of ectopic pregnancy, be sure to raise the concern to your doctor, who may want to run some tests to rule out ectopic pregnancy -- even if just to be on the safe side.

More obvious clinical symptoms of ectopic pregnancy tend to appear around seven weeks' gestation, and this is also when the risk of rupture begins to increase. These include severe abdominal pain on either or both sides, feeling dizzy or faint, or having any of the signs of shock. Go to the emergency room immediately if you think you might be at risk.

Sources:

American Pregnancy Association, "Ectopic Pregnancy." Jan 2007. Accessed 30 Jan 2008.

Varma, Rajesh, and Janesh Gupta, "Ectopic pregnancy." BMJ Clinical Evidence 1 Nov 2006.

Accessed 30 Jan 2008.

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