According to the March of Dimes, one in every fifty pregnancies are ectopic. So, if you’re wondering what an ectopic pregnancy is, you’ve come to the right place.
An ectopic pregnancy, also known as a tubal pregnancy, is when a fertilized egg is implanted outside the uterus. Most of the time, an ectopic pregnancy is in the fallopian tube. However, an ectopic can also be located in the ovary, abdominal cavity, or the lower part of the uterus (cervix).
How long can you be pregnant with an ectopic pregnancy? Can the pregnancy progress?
Due to the tissues outside the uterus not being able to provide the blood supply and support necessary to continue with the pregnancy, the fetus cannot survive.
The misplacement of the fetus sometimes means a rupture wherever the embryo is planted. So anytime from 6 to 16 weeks is when an ectopic pregnancy lasts. However, if a rupture occurs, the mother’s life is at risk.
What causes an ectopic pregnancy?
In most cases, an ectopic pregnancy is caused by conditions that slow down or block the egg’s movement down the fallopian tube and into the uterus.
What is ectopic pregnancy like?
An ectopic pregnancy may not be noticeable initially. Yet, some women who have an ectopic pregnancy expressed the same early pregnancy signs such as a missed period, breast tenderness, and nausea.
Taking a pregnancy test when you have an ectopic pregnancy will result in a positive result. However, an ectopic pregnancy will not continue due to improper placement.
Warning signs of an ectopic pregnancy are:
- light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain
- If blood leaks from the fallopian tube, you may feel an urge to have a bowel movement, or shoulder pain
Emergency signs, life-threatening signs, are:
- Heavy bleeding inside the abdomen
- Extreme lightheadedness
- Severe abdominal or pelvic pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding
- Extreme shoulder pain
How is an ectopic pregnancy diagnosed?
An ectopic pregnancy can be diagnosed by a urine-based pregnancy test accompanied by an ultrasound. Another way to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy is by a blood test. The blood test can monitor the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) you have in your body. This hormone is produced during pregnancy.
We always suggest an ultrasound exam because it uses sound waves to create a picture of your body’s internal structures. When you come to Care Net NNY, a Registered Nurse or Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) conducts this ultrasound. They will be able to see where the fertilized egg has implanted itself.
Can I get pregnant again after an ectopic pregnancy?
The majority of women who have had an ectopic pregnancy can go on to have healthy pregnancies. However, there is a higher risk of future ectopic pregnancies after you have had one. Therefore, we always encourage women to talk to a medical professional about the causes of their ectopic pregnancy and possible risks that could cause a future ectopic pregnancy.
How long should I wait before becoming pregnant again after an ectopic pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy affects a woman’s body, especially if surgery is needed. We suggest talking to your provider about when to start trying for another pregnancy.
If you think you might be pregnant and want to rule out an ectopic pregnancy, we can help. At Care Net NNY, we can help you with free and confidential pregnancy services including urine-based pregnancy test and an ultrasound exam. Don’t wait. Call us today at 315- 782-5433.
Ectopic Pregnancy Statistics [Internet] Verywell Family [March 3rd, 2021] Available from: https://www.verywellfamily.com/what-do-statistics-look-like-for-ectopic-pregnancy-2371730
Ectopic Pregnancy [Internet] Mayo Clinic [December 18th, 2020] Available from:
How Long Can you be Pregnant with an Ectopic Pregnancy [Internet] Psichology Answers [Accessed February 20th, 2022] Available from: https://psichologyanswers.com/library/lecture/read/411264-how-long-can-you-be-pregnant-with-an-ectopic-pregnancy
Ectopic Pregnancy [Internet] Cleveland Clinic [February 6th, 2020] Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9687-ectopic-pregnancy