The signs of an ectopic pregnancy aren’t always obvious. These symptoms are even easier to miss if you’re early in your pregnancy.

Many women won’t know they have an ectopic pregnancy until they get an ultrasound or develop more serious side effects. A ruptured ectopic pregnancy, for example, can cause internal bleeding, infection, and even death. It’s important to find and treat the condition before it threatens your life.

In this blog, you’ll learn what an ectopic pregnancy is and how to spot the signs before it’s too late.

What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

After a sperm cell fertilizes an egg cell, the zygote travels from the fallopian tube to the uterus. Once in the uterus, it implants in the uterine wall. In a healthy pregnancy, the fertilized egg will develop into an embryo within the woman’s womb.

In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg doesn’t reach the uterus. Instead, it implants in another part of the woman’s abdomen. Most often, the zygote will implant in the fallopian tube. That’s why you may hear this condition referred to as a tubal pregnancy. 

Over time, the embryo will develop and grow. The uterus is made to stretch and accommodate this growth. The fallopian tube, though, doesn’t have the same ability. 

What is an ectopic pregnancy

As the embryo gets bigger, it will strain the fallopian tube or cause problems for other organs. Eventually, usually between the 6th and 16th weeks of pregnancy, the organ will burst. This rupture can cause the woman to hemorrhage. If the embryo remains in her body, it may also cause a serious infection.

If a healthcare professional identifies the ectopic pregnancy before this point, they can safely remove the embryo using medication or surgery. 

You may be more likely to have this condition if you:

  • Had a previous ectopic pregnancy
  • Use an IUD
  • Smoke
  • Had fertility treatments or tubal surgery
  • Have an STD

Pregnancy ultrasounds are the best way to identify a tubal pregnancy. An abortion can only remove an embryo or fetus from the uterus and will not treat this condition. 

Ectopic pregnancies are not viable and the embryo cannot survive.

3 Signs of an Ectopic Pregnancy

1. Vaginal bleeding

Vaginal bleeding

Ectopic pregnancy symptoms are similar to typical pregnancy signs, especially early on. You will get positive results when you take a pregnancy test. You may have breast tenderness and miss your period.

You may also have vaginal bleeding. It may be a brown color or a watery consistency. The bleeding may be steady or irregular, starting and stopping at different points. 

Spotting and bleeding in early pregnancy aren’t unusual. With an ectopic pregnancy, however, this bleeding will get worse over time.

If a pregnancy outside of the uterus ruptures, you may experience extremely heavy bleeding. You will need to seek immediate emergency treatment for the pregnancy and bleeding.

2. Pain in your pelvis, abdomen, rectum, neck, or shoulder

Abdominal pain is another common ectopic pregnancy symptom.

Many women feel tubal pregnancy pain on one side of the body. This pain may start suddenly and remain strong, or come on gradually. Your pain may sometimes get worse or go away completely for periods of time.

Ectopic pregnancies can also cause pain or pressure when peeing or defecating. You may also feel pain in your rectum or pelvis.

After a rupture, you may have shoulder or neck pain as well. Scientists don’t know why, but this pain sometimes indicates internal bleeding. If you have other signs of a rupture, get help right away.

3. Vomiting, nausea, and sharp stomach cramps

Many women deal with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. But with this condition, your upset stomach is more than a discomfort.

You may feel sharp cramps in your tummy and abdomen. In addition to vomiting, you may experience dizziness and weakness.

Typically, these are signs of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. You may be bleeding internally. If you have these symptoms, you should call 911 immediately.

Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and/or weakness without pain may not indicate a rupture, but they are still serious symptoms. You should contact your doctor ASAP.

Vomiting, nausea, and sharp stomach cramps

Get a pregnancy ultrasound at Thrive Orlando

An ectopic pregnancy can put your health at risk, even if you are planning to get an abortion.

Before making a decision about your pregnancy, come to our clinic to get a free confirmation pregnancy test. If you qualify, you’ll also receive a free ultrasound to check for viability and gestational age and to confirm an intrauterine pregnancy.

Put your health first. Book an appointment at Thrive Orlando today!

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