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What Is an Ectopic Pregnancy

When a woman is beginning to consider abortion, it may be recommended that she first rule out ectopic pregnancy. But what IS ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that can occur when the embryo implants outside the uterus. It usually happens within the first couple weeks of the pregnancy. The most common places for the ectopic to implant is the fallopian tube or ovary. Ectopic pregnancies can account for about 2% of all pregnancies so it is very important to be aware of the signs and symptoms as they can be potentially dangerous.

Some signs and symptoms to be aware of are a missed period, nausea and vomiting with pain, severe abdominal pain on one side of your body, shoulder pain, or dizziness or weakness. However some women may not have any symptoms until the pregnancy ruptures. Not seeking medical treatment early on with an ectopic pregnancy can lead to damaging the fallopian tube, loss of the fallopian tube, and even death. If the ectopic pregnancy ruptures in the tube, you may have major pain and bleeding.

Avenue Women’s Center is NOT equipped for the treatment of ectopic pregnancy. If you are concerned that you may be experiencing symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Call your physician, 911, or get to a nearby emergency room.

Some known causes for having an ectopic pregnancy include scarring from any previous pelvic surgery, history of an ectopic, infertility treatments and use of fertility drugs, pelvic inflammatory disease, or a history of any sexually transmitted diseases, just to name a few. In some cases, we may never know why an ectopic pregnancy happened.

If a known ectopic pregnancy exists it will have to be removed because a fertilized egg cannot live outside the uterus. There are two ways to treat this complication, medication or surgery. Medical professionals assess the options that are appropriate for each individual situation.

After having an ectopic there is still a good chance of carrying a normal pregnancy in the future.

Avenue Women’s Center specializes in helping Chicagoland women who are making decisions about whether or not to continue pregnancies. Typical abortion alternatives are not suited to the treatment of ectopic pregnancies. We recommend that any woman who is considering abortion, first take the step of having a limited medical ultrasound. Ultrasound provides several benefits, including a way to assess whether a woman who is not yet having symptoms is indeed facing an ectopic pregnancy. Again – if a woman believes that she is experiencing symptoms, immediate medical attention is needed.

If you are not experiencing symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, but are interested in learning more about your pregnancy and abortion options, we hope to help you. With five locations in the western suburbs of Chicago, we provide free, private consultations and also limited medical ultrasounds. These services are suited to women who are beginning to consider their pregnancy decisions. You will find that our staff truly cares for you and all you are facing. It would be our privilege to serve you. For more information, please contact us today.


  • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2011, August). Ectopic Pregnancy. Retrieved from:

Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.