The uterus is the only place in the female body where a pregnancy can safely grow. An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg begins to grow outside the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube.

What Is A Fallopian Tube?

The fallopian tubes are channels leading from the ovaries into the uterus. If the process works correctly in a pregnancy, the fertilized egg will travel from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes, and into the uterus. 

What Are Symptoms Of An Ectopic Pregnancy?

In addition to early pregnancy signs, such as a missed period, typical ectopic pregnancy signs and symptoms can include:

  1. Light vaginal bleeding
  2. Pelvic pain
  3. Shoulder Tip Pain: pain where the shoulder ends and the arm begins. 
  4. The urge to have a bowel movement

If the fallopian tube should rupture, the pain can become sharp and intense. It can also cause extreme lightheadedness, vaginal bleeding, fainting, and shock.

Are Some Women More At Risk for Ectopic Pregnancies than Others?

Yes. Women who have had previous ectopic pregnancies, have an IUD implanted, or have had their tubes tied are greatly at risk. Also at higher risk are those who are struggling with infertility, have endometriosis, have an STI, or smoke. 

Can a Pregnancy Survive An Ectopic Pregnancy?

Pregnancies do not survive outside the uterus. If untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can threaten a woman’s life.

How Can Ectopic Pregnancies Be Diagnosed?

While a blood test can be used, one of the simplest and most common ways is with an ultrasound. An early obstetric ultrasound can determine that a fertilized egg is developing in the fallopian tube. 

How Can You Reduce Your Risk Of An Ectopic Pregnancy?

While you can’t completely prevent an ectopic pregnancy, healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce your risk. These include not smoking and taking precautions to avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

To protect your health, get an ultrasound if you think you might be pregnant. At Empower Life Center, our medical team can provide you with a no-cost pregnancy test and ultrasound. If you think you are pregnant, contact us today!