Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Ectopic Pregnancy

(Tubal Pregnancy)

Definition

An ectopic pregnancy happens outside of the womb. It cannot survive. Most happen within a fallopian tube. It can also happen the cervix, an ovary, or the abdomen.

Ectopic Pregnancy
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Causes ^

A problem with the fallopian tubes causes this to happen.

Risk Factors ^

It is more common in women who are 40 years of age or older.

These things may raise your risk:

Symptoms ^

A missed period is the first sign.

You may also have:

  • Belly pain
  • Spotty bleeding

Diagnosis ^

You will be asked about your symptoms. You will also be asked about your health history. A physical exam will be done.

Blood tests and urine tests will be done.

Pictures may be taken. This can be done with an ultrasound.

Treatment ^

You may be monitored or you may have:

Medications

If the pregnancy is small and has not ruptured (burst), you may be given a medicine to stop it from growing.

Surgery

Surgery may be needed if the pregnancy has ruptured or if it is not in the fallopian tube. The pregnancy will be removed.

If the pregnancy is in the fallopian tube, the doctor may be able to fix the tube. In severe cases, the tube may need to be removed.

Prevention ^

To lower the chance of this condition:

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Always use a condom during sex.
  • Limit sex to one partner.
RESOURCES:

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
http://www.acog.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
http://www.sogc.org

Women's Health Matters
http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

REFERENCES:

Ectopic pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115772/Ectopic-pregnancy. Updated July 24, 2018. Accessed August 7, 2018.

Ectopic pregnancy. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/abnormalities-of-pregnancy/ectopic-pregnancy. Updated Octrober 2017. Accessed August 7, 2018.

Ectopic pregnancy. Planned Parenthood website. Available at: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/ectopic-pregnancy. Accessed August 7, 2018.

4/22/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115772/Ectopic-pregnancy: Creanga AA, Shapiro-Mendoza CK, Bish CL, Zane S, Berg CJ, Callaghan WM. Trends in ectopic pregnancy mortality in the United States: 1980-2007. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;117(4):837-843.

Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG  Last Updated: 8/7/2018