What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

Ectopic is another way of saying "out of place". An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants itself somewhere outside of the uterus. Although most ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes, embryos can also implant in the ovaries, abdomen or cervix. None of these sites will provide the fertilized egg with enough space or nutrients to properly develop, and the resulting fetus will eventually rupture the space that it inhabits, usually causing extensive bleeding that will endanger the mother's life.

Since most early pregnancy symptoms, missed periods, nausea and breast tenderness, also occur in ectopic pregnancies, these pregnancies can be difficult to detect. However, pain can be the first indication of a problem, and blood loss from the rupture of the implantation site also causes low blood pressure, dizziness or fainting. Some ectopic pregnancies present with lower back pain and sharp pain in the pelvis or abdomen.

A quantitative blood test to measure the traces of the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG) in the blood is often used in the initial diagnosis. If the hormone levels are lower than expected, an ectopic pregnancy may be the cause. The blood test is often followed with a pelvic or ultrasound exam to check for the presence of the developing fetus in the uterus. Another test, called a culdoncentesis, is used to check for internal bleeding and involves the insertion of a needle into the top of the vagina and behind the uterus. Blood present in this area is usually caused by a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.

Treatments for this type of pregnancy vary depending on the location and size. Methotrexate can be injected into the earliest stages of the pregnancy to dissolve the fertilized egg. However, as the pregnancy progresses, laparoscopy or surgery may be needed to remove the fetus.

Maria writes for Pregnancy Due Date, a site that tries to information for expectant mothers. For more great pregnancy articles, visit our Pregnancy articles archive.

In The News:

Trauma Care in Pregnancy  Anesthesiology News

Common Sense Approach To Pregnancy Weight Loss

Ok so everyone gains weight while they are pregnant. This... Read More

Calcium and Pregnancy

Studies show that most women do not get enough daily... Read More

Labor and Delivery

This is it - the finish line. You and your... Read More

Weight Loss After Pregnancy - The Final Word

One point can't be emphasized enough. Weight loss takes time... Read More

Pregnancy and Tanning Beds

With summer approaching, you would love to wear those cute... Read More

Benefits of Exercise When Pregnant

Exercising during pregnancy is always a very good idea, and... Read More

Chill Out, Mama! Four Tips on Managing Stress in Pregnancy

One of the best gifts you can give your baby... Read More

Why Pregnant Women Get Stressed and Depressed?

If you are a pregnant mother or soon will be,... Read More

Pregnancy and Exercise, How to Stay Fit While Being Pregnant

EXERCISE SAFELYThe first thing to understand when you exercise during... Read More

How do Pregnancy Tests Work?

Pregnancy tests identify a special hormone in the blood or... Read More

You Can Do Exercise During Pregnancy, but Dont Overdo It

Don't get so lazy during your pregnancy. Move your body... Read More

Pregnancy Exercise

One of the best things you can do to prepare... Read More

Sex & Pregnancy...Do They Mix?

As a pregnant woman, you may experience sex drives much... Read More

The First Warning Signs of Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be exciting or daunting, depending on the circumstances.... Read More

Homebirth Midwifery

What is Homebirth Midwifery? Homebirth Midwifery is prenatal care that... Read More

Preparing for a Vaginal Birth after Cesarean

WHY LACK OF SUPPORT?Several years ago, ACOG, American College of... Read More

Pregnancy Weight Gain - The Mystery Solved

It is important that you remember that weight gain is... Read More

How do I Calculate My Pregnancy Due Date?

You're pregnant! The next question is: When is the baby... Read More

After Birth Weight Control

After having given birth; weight becomes a lasting issue for... Read More

Infertility and Pregnancy

When a couple is unable to conceive a child, it... Read More

Very Early Symptoms of Pregnancy - Do You Know These Very Early Pregnancy Signs?

Very early symptoms of pregnancy -- what are they? If... Read More

Dietary Precautions During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant, you should be sure to wash... Read More

Extent of Pregnancy Prejudice

Extent of pregnancy prejudice in Britain's workplacesEach year around 30,000... Read More

Conception Tips and Tips For Getting Pregnant For Those Who Are Trying To Conceive

CONCEPTION TIPSConception takes place in three basic stages: ovulation, then... Read More

The Developing Child

We know the fetus is experiencing whatever is going on... Read More