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What Are the Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy?

What Are the Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy?


Ectopic pregnancies occur early in the pregnancy when the fertilized egg implants at a place other than the endometrium of the uterus. Usually this implantation happens in the fallopian tube, though it can present in the ovary and cervix as well. There are over 100,000 ectopic pregnancies in the United States each year, and ectopic pregnancy is the number 1 cause of death in mothers during the first trimester. Therefore, it is vital that you understand your risk level for an ectopic pregnancy and identify any symptoms as soon as possible.

Pelvic and Low Back Pain

Pain often presents your pelvis or lower back when you are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. This pain can begin as cramping, and is often overlooked. However, it often proceeds to a sharp, severe pain in the lower abdomen. If you notice pain in this area, however slight, it is important to speak with your doctor. This is particularly true if you have a history of ectopic pregnancy or of medical issues in the lower stomach and pelvic area.

Bleeding During the Pregnancy

Abnormal bleeding during a pregnancy is never something you should ignore. A number of issues can cause this bleeding, and ectopic pregnancy is one of them. If you notice bleeding during the early stages of your pregnancy, you should see your physician immediately. This can denote an ectopic pregnancy.

Palpable Abdominal Mass

This is a situation in which there is swelling due to the palpation of the abdomen. Unfortunately, the symptoms of this mass include vomiting, diarrhea and a decreased appetite. All of these could easily be chalked up to early pregnancy symptoms and not a medical issue that demands attention. However, if you feel any undue swelling of the abdomen in conjunction with these symptoms, it is important to get into your doctor’s office for testing.

Doctor Identified Symptoms

There are a number of more accurate symptoms that can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. The first is abnormally low blood pressure. While you can check this at home with a blood pressure kit, your physician will have a better idea of normal values for pregnancy. Intrinsically unstructured proteins are a type of protein in your blood. These typically double every 48 hours. In an ectopic pregnancy, these levels do not increase as quickly. Since you will likely not notice these symptoms, regular appointments are necessary.


Resources: 7/9/2013

Harvard Medical School, May
Ectopic Pregnancy

American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Ectopic Pregnancy Fact Sheet

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