Unusual Ectopic Pregnancy *

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Unusual Ectopic Pregnancy *

Publication Date
Jul 01, 1961
  • Medicine


Fact Sheet From ReproductiveFacts.org The Patient Education Website of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Ectopic pregnancy Developed in collaboration with the Society for Reproductive Surgeons What is ectopic pregnancy? An ectopic pregnancy is any pregnancy that grows outside of the uterus (womb). In a normal pregnancy, the egg meets the sperm (is fertilized) in the fallopian tube and the embryo (fertilized egg) travels through the tube to the uterus. Once there, the embryo implants (attaches) and grows into a baby. When an embryo starts attaching and begins to grow anywhere outside the uterus, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is not healthy and if it continues to grow, it can endanger the life of the pregnant woman. Early detection and treatment of an ectopic pregnancy are extremely important. The most common place for an ectopic pregnancy is in a fallopian tube. It is also possible, but rarer, to find an ectopic pregnancy in the ovary, cervix, or somewhere else in the abdomen. It can be very dangerous or even life-threatening if an ectopic pregnancy is not treated properly. What causes an ectopic pregnancy? Many women who have ectopic pregnancies have no obvious risk factors. However, a woman might be more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy if she: • had surgery in the pelvis or abdomen (belly) • had a sexually transmitted infection • has endometriosis, a condition where the tissue that lines your uterus grows in other places • smokes cigarettes • had fertility treatment in the past • had a previous ectopic pregnancy • became pregnant with an intrauterine device (IUD) in place How do doctors diagnose ectopic pregnancies? A combination of blood tests and ultrasound scans can help your doctor diagnose an ectopic pregnancy. A blood pregnancy test measures how much of the pregnancy hormone (human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG) is in the blood. This “hCG level” usually is measured more than


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