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Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms

Have you recently discovered you’re unexpectedly pregnant? If you’ve taken an at-home pregnancy test and the result was positive, you’re probably in a bit of a shock. Over-the-counter pregnancy tests are reliable, but a woman who’s anxious about the results can take it too soon or not follow the directions carefully.

Have confidence in your test results by getting confirmation with a medical-grade pregnancy test at Avenue Women’s Center. If the test is positive, we’ll provide a no-cost ultrasound. An ultrasound will reveal if your pregnancy is normal or ectopic. 

A Normal Pregnancy

In a healthy, normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall. This is known as implantation. Once attached, the pregnancy continues to grow.

According to the Mayo Clinic, every known pregnancy has up to a 20% chance of a natural miscarriage. If you receive a no-cost ultrasound from Avenue, you’ll know if you’ve miscarried and if your pregnancy implanted in the correct location.

An Ectopic Pregnancy

The word “ectopic” literally means out of place. In a pregnancy of this kind, the fertilized egg attaches and begins growing somewhere outside of the uterus. It’s a pregnancy that won’t be able to develop correctly or safely.

Medical News Today says most ectopic pregnancies settle or implant in a fallopian tube, but it can also happen in an ovary or the abdominal cavity. A fertilized egg cannot survive anywhere but in the uterus.

Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy

With an ectopic pregnancy, you may have normal pregnancy symptoms in the beginning, but as the pregnancy grows, you may begin to experience other signs:

  • Sharp pain in your lower abdomen
  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • Shoulder, neck, or lower back pain which can indicate internal bleeding
  • Fainting due to excessive bleeding

If you leave an ectopic pregnancy untreated it will continue to grow. If located in the fallopian tube, it can cause your tube to burst. A ruptured fallopian tube can be life-threatening due to bleeding. 

Who’s At Risk?

Any woman can have an ectopic pregnancy. There is no way to prevent one, but there are a few risk factors that might make it more likely you’ll have one.

  • Having pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which is often caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Smoking
  • You’re older than 35
  • A past cesarean delivery

How To Determine If You Have An Ectopic Pregnancy

A pregnancy test by itself won’t tell you if you have an ectopic or other non-viable pregnancy. Although you may not have symptoms now, an ectopic pregnancy can be dangerous if left untreated. 

An ultrasound exam will confirm where your pregnancy is located. Schedule an appointment at one of our Center locations today. We want you to be confident about your health and your options.  

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.

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