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What Is Ectopic Pregnancy?

A typical pregnancy attaches to and develops inside the uterus. However, an ectopic pregnancy grows outside the uterus. This is a life-threatening situation that requires emergency medical treatment. 

If you’re facing an unexpected pregnancy and are concerned that you might be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, read on to learn more. Or, if you want to talk to someone in person about your pregnancy, contact Avenue Women’s Center to be connected with one of our caring team members.

How to Diagnose an Ectopic Pregnancy?

If you’re pregnant, an important next step is to receive an ultrasound. This harmless scan can reveal the location of your pregnancy—which is essential for diagnosing or ruling out an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy would not be viable, or able to complete the normal development of a pregnancy. It would also require immediate medical attention outside of an abortion. 

An ultrasound can also determine the age of your pregnancy, which is important if you’re considering abortion (since options like the abortion pill are only FDA-approved through 10 weeks gestation). 

At Avenue Women’s Center, we offer no-cost, limited medical ultrasounds. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

Risk Factors

According to the Mayo Clinic, you might be at a greater risk for an ectopic pregnancy if any of the following situations apply to you:

  • Previous ectopic pregnancy. Having had this type of pregnancy before makes you more likely to experience it again.
  • Inflammation or infection. Sexually transmitted infections can cause your fallopian tubes to become inflamed, and this increases your risk of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Fertility treatments. Some research indicates that in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or similar treatments make a woman more likely to experience an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Tubal surgery. If you’ve ever had surgery on your fallopian tube, this can increase your risk of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Having an intrauterine device (IUD) in place. Although the chance of getting pregnant with an IUD in place is rare, if it happens, that pregnancy has a higher chance of being ectopic.
  • Smoking. Smoking cigarettes before you get pregnant increases your risk of the pregnancy being ectopic.

Next Steps

Facing an unexpected pregnancy can feel scary, but you’re not alone. At Avenue Women’s Center, we’re here for you with no-cost pregnancy resources, information, and referrals that can help you feel confident about how to move forward. Contact us today to schedule your confidential appointment.

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.