The Important Signs and Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy

Many women may have heard the term “ectopic pregnancy” but may not know what it actually is. PWOG strongly recommends that all women who are pregnant or considering a pregnancy learn the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy so they are prepared. We welcome any questions or concerns, and encourage you to book an appointment or contact our office.

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

Sometimes a fertilized egg will implant/attach outside of a woman’s uterus, for example, in the Fallopian tubes. This is known as an ectopic pregnancy, and unfortunately, it will not “turn into” a normal, healthy pregnancy. The condition is very dangerous if left untreated.

What happens if an ectopic pregnancy is left untreated?

Without treatment, the egg that is attached outside of the woman’s uterus will continue growing, which can lead to a damaged or burst Fallopian tube and heavy bleeding.

What are the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy?

Unfortunately, the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy can mimic normal first-trimester pregnancy symptoms:

  • Nausea/morning sickness
  • Fatigue
  • Breast tenderness/soreness

It’s important for women to pay close attention to how they are feeling, especially if their symptoms could be described as “severe.” Additional symptoms that could indicate an ectopic pregnancy include abdominal discomfort/tenderness, vaginal bleeding or spotting, or shoulder pain (particularly while lying down). Symptoms of a Fallopian tube rupture include paleness, heavy bleeding, dizziness and/or fainting.

Should you experience any of the above symptoms, please seek medical care immediately.

If my pregnancy is ectopic, what happens next?

In the event an ectopic pregnancy is suspected, by either you or your PWOG provider, your provider will perform a blood test, pelvic exam and ultrasound to confirm or rule out ectopic pregnancy. If an ectopic pregnancy is confirmed, a D&C (dilation and curettage) may be performed in order to remove any tissue found outside of the uterus. Again, an ectopic pregnancy cannot turn into a normal, healthy one, and leaving the tissue where it is – outside of the uterus – is very dangerous to the patient’s health. If additional treatment is needed, your provider will discuss options.

PWOG understands the deep emotional component of an ectopic pregnancy, and our staff provides the compassionate environment patients need during this difficult time. If you have questions or concerns about ectopic pregnancy symptoms, please contact PWOG as soon as possible.

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