Ectopic Pregnancy is when the fertilized egg implants outside of the womb, most commonly in the fallopian tube but it can be elsewhere for example in the ovary or cervix. Only about 2 per cent of pregnancies are ectopic. Unfortunately, it is not possible for an ectopic pregnancy to continue normally to full term, and early diagnosis and urgent care is required as soon as an ectopic pregnancy becomes apparent either through early scan or symptoms experienced by the mother.
Left undiagnosed and untreated an ectopic pregnancy the fallopian tube may rupture. If this happens you may experience a combination of:
It is very important that you call your doctor or the hospital right away if you experience any of the symptoms above. It will not unfortunately be possible to save the pregnancy but with prompt medical intervention and treatment which may include surgery, the chances of preserving the fallopian tube for future fertility are greatly increased.
Slight and occasional cramping in your lower abdomen in early pregnancy is not unusual as the ligaments and other bodily changes accompanying pregnancy take place and is not necessarily a sign of ectopic pregnancy but is always best to be sure so if you are at all concerned contact your physician at once.
In a few cases, an ectopic pregnancy can grow large enough to split open the fallopian tube. This is known as a rupture.
Ruptures are very serious and surgery to repair the fallopian tube needs to be carried out as soon as possible.
Signs of a rupture include a combination of: