From fertilization to delivery, pregnancy requires a number of steps in a woman’s body. One of these steps is when a fertilized egg travels to the uterus to attach itself. In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg does not attach to the uterus. Instead, it may attach to the fallopian tube, abdominal cavity, or cervix. While a pregnancy test may reveal a woman is pregnant, a fertilized egg can’t properly grow anywhere other than the uterus.
An untreated ectopic pregnancy can be a medical emergency. Prompt treatment reduces your risk of complications from the ectopic pregnancy, increases your chance for future, healthy pregnancies, and reduces future health complications.
The cause of an ectopic pregnancy isn’t always clear. In some cases, the following conditions have been linked with an ectopic pregnancy:
• Inflammation and scarring of the fallopian tubes from a previous medical condition, infection, or surgery
• Hormonal factors
• Genetic abnormalities
• Birth defects
• Medical conditions that affect the shape and condition of the fallopian tubes and reproductive organs
• Sharp or stabbing pain that may come and go and vary in intensity. (The pain may be in the pelvis, abdomen, or even the shoulder and neck due to blood from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy gathering up under the diaphragm).
• Vaginal bleeding, heavier or lighter than your normal period
• Gastrointestinal symptoms
• Weakness, dizziness, or fainting