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Ectopic pregnancy

  • Alternative Names

    Tubal pregnancy; Cervical pregnancy; Abdominal pregnancy

    • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
    • Amenorrhea
    • Breast tenderness
    • Low back pain
    • Mild cramping on one side of the pelvis
    • Nausea
    • Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic area

    If the area of the abnormal pregnancy ruptures and bleeds, symptoms may get worse. They may include:

    • Feeling faint or actually fainting
    • Intense pressure in the rectum
    • Pain that is felt in the shoulder area
    • Severe, sharp, and sudden pain in the lower abdomen

    Internal bleeding due to a rupture may lead to low blood pressure and fainting in around 1 out of 10 women.

    Signs and tests

    The health care provider will do a pelvic exam, which may show tenderness in the pelvic area.

    Tests that may be done include:

    • Culdocentesis
    • Hematocrit
    • Pregnancy test
    • Quantitative HCG blood test
    • Serum progesterone level
    • Transvaginal ultrasound or pregnancy ultrasound
    • White blood count

    A rise in quantitative HCG levels may help tell a normal (intrauterine) pregnancy from an ectopic pregnancy. Women with high levels should have a vaginal ultrasound to identify a normal pregnancy.

    Other tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis, such as:

    • D and C
    • Laparoscopy
    • Laparotomy