How can I know if I have an ectopic or a tubal pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is something that no woman wants to go through.  It can be a very difficult experience on many levels.  In some cases, you might have already begun to make plans and dreams for your pregnancy and for your baby.  Without a warning, these dreams can be shattered when you discover that you were not pregnant, but rather you had an ectopic or tubal pregnancy.

An ectopic or tubal pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg is implanted somewhere else besides where it belongs, in the uterus.  This egg often will continue to develop until it causes pain.  An ectopic pregnancy most often occurs in the fallopian tubes (which is why it is sometimes called a tubal pregnancy), in the cervix, or in the abdominal cavity.  This fertilized egg will begin to develop, and can get a certain amount of nutrition in these spots.  Unfortunately, however, there is no way to move a fertilized egg in an ectopic pregnancy into the uterus.

There are symptoms and signs that will let you know if you have an ectopic or a tubal pregnancy.  Often, you will have lower back pain or abdominal pain.  It is also common for a woman with an ectopic or a tubal pregnancy to have vaginal bleeding or spotting.  Dizziness and feeling faint are also common signs.  In addition, blood pressure tends to drop with an ectopic pregnancy.  The levels of hCG in your body tend to be lower with an ectopic or tubal pregnancy than they do with a true pregnancy as well.

An ectopic or tubal pregnancy may, in other ways, resemble a true pregnancy.  Generally, an ectopic or a tubal pregnancy will cause you to have a positive pregnancy test.  You might also experience other pregnancy-related symptoms, such as morning sickness and tenderness of the breasts.

Ectopic or tubal pregnancy cannot be prevented.  An ectopic or tubal pregnancy is treated surgically.  The fertilized egg is removed, often laparoscopially, which is much less painful than traditional surgery.  After treating an ectopic pregnancy, your health care provider will want to follow up with you soon to check on you.



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