An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that implants outside of the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube. Because only the uterus can safely support a growing pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy is a dangerous and life-threatening condition.

How Does an Ectopic Pregnancy Happen?

The majority of ectopic pregnancies are “tubal pregnancies,” meaning the fertilized egg has implanted inside one of the fallopian tubes.

In a normal pregnancy, a sperm will fertilize an egg inside a fallopian tube. Then, the fertilized egg will travel into the uterus and eventually implant into the wall of the uterus. It will grow inside the uterus for the duration of the pregnancy.

If the fallopian tube is misshapen or inflamed, the fertilized egg can get stuck on the way to the uterus. This condition can also happen due to hormonal imbalances or if the fertilized egg does not develop normally.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

An ectopic pregnancy can resemble a normal pregnancy at the beginning. You may begin to develop early pregnancy symptoms such as a missed period, breast tenderness, and nausea. You will also receive a positive pregnancy test.

However, if you experience any spotting or light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain, these could be early symptoms of ectopic pregnancy.

The symptoms will worsen as the pregnancy grows in an improper place.

You should seek emergency medical care if you experience severe abdominal or pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding, lightheadedness or fainting, or shoulder pain.

How Can You Prevent an Ectopic Pregnancy?

While no one can fully prevent ectopic pregnancy, which occurs in about 1 in 50 pregnancies, you can reduce your risk by not smoking and limiting your sexual partners to prevent STIs/STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Can the Abortion Pill Treat an Ectopic Pregnancy?

The abortion pill does not treat an ectopic pregnancy because the pregnancy is outside the uterus. It will not prevent a fallopian tube from rupturing.

This is why it’s extremely critical to receive an ultrasound before taking abortion pills.

It’s also important to note that an ectopic pregnancy treatment is not the same as an abortion procedure. Ectopic pregnancies are non-viable pregnancies that will not be able to develop, and their removal prevents life-threatening consequences for the woman.

Schedule a No-Cost Appointment at PCS Health

Did you receive a positive pregnancy test recently and now wonder what to do next?

Visit PCS Health for a no-cost ultrasound appointment to find out how far along you are (gestational age), the location of your pregnancy (in the uterus and not ectopic), and whether it’s progressing.

These details will inform your next steps and protect your health and safety no matter what pregnancy option you’re considering. Schedule today!

*PCS Health does not perform or refer for abortions.