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Ectopic Pregnancy

(Tubal Pregnancy)



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

Nuclus factsheet image

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Causes    TOP

A problem with the fallopian tubes causes this to happen.


Risk Factors    TOP

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

These things may raise your risk:


Symptoms    TOP

A missed period is the first sign.

You may also have:

  • Belly pain
  • Spotty bleeding

Diagnosis    TOP

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    TOP

You may be monitored or you may have:


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


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    TOP

To lower the chance of this condition:

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

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians


The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada

Women's Health Matters


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:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated Octrober 2017. Accessed August 7, 2018.

Ectopic pregnancy. Planned Parenthood website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed August 7, 2018.

4/22/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://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 May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 8/7/2018

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