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Ectopic Pregnancy

About Ectopic Pregnancies

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that has implanted outside the normal location in the cavity of the uterus. The majority of ectopic pregnancies implant in one of the fallopian tubes because the fertilized egg gets stuck on its way down the tube to the uterus. Unfortunately, tubal pregnancies cannot survive in this location, nor can they be moved into the uterus. Eventually they can rupture through the wall of the tube and lead to serious, life threatening internal bleeding. Therefore, patients with an ectopic pregnancy need to be treated as soon as the diagnosis is made with either surgery or an injectable medication called methotrexate. Other possible locations for ectopic pregnancies include the cervix, ovaries, pelvic cavity, or the corner of the uterus where the tube is attached.

Pursuing Fertility Treatment After Ectopic Pregnancy

Patients who have had a previous ectopic pregnancy are at an increased risk of having another one, as are patients who have infertility or who have had a previous sexually transmitted disease, pelvic inflammatory disease, previous abdominal, pelvic or tubal surgery, prior appendicitis, or who are using contraception when they conceive. The most common symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are abnormal vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain especially if it is stronger on one side more than the other. Many patients with early ectopic pregnancies will have no symptoms.

IVF is a recommended treatment option to avoid ectopic pregnancies as it allows the embryo to be placed directly into the uterus, decreasing the chances of a tubal pregnancy.

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