Signs & Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy – ModernMom

by pregnancy journalist

If an egg is fertilized in a fallopian tube, it is an ectopic pregnancy and cannot result in the healthy delivery of a baby. A tubal or ectopic pregnancy can also be life-threatening if left untreated, according to the Mayo Clinic. While a tubal pregnancy is devastating to a hopeful mom, the good news is that successful detection and treatment of the condition increases your chances of future healthy pregnancies.

Vaginal Bleeding

Light vaginal bleeding is usually one of the first signs of an ectopic pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. If the bleeding becomes heavy and is not associated with a normal menstrual period, you should immediately call 911.

Abdominal Pain

Lower abdominal pain may indicate a tubal pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, in some cases, the fallopian tube can actually rupture. This is indicated by severe abdominal pain and is considered a medical emergency.

Pelvic Pain

You may feel cramping on one or both sides of your pelvis if you are suffering from an ectopic pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Keep in mind that an at-home pregnancy test will show you are pregnant even if the embryo is inside a fallopian tube. That pelvic pain, however, is still a sign of an ectopic pregnancy that cannot safely continue.

Advanced Symptoms

While any of the symptoms can indicate a possible medical emergency, some symptoms only occur when the mother’s life may be in jeopardy, according to the Mayo Clinic. An urge to defecate that does not result in a bowel movement, shoulder pain, extreme lightheadedness, fainting and symptoms of shock indicate an advanced tubal pregnancy that requires immediate medical intervention.

Signs of Possible Fallopian Tube Rupture

In some cases, a tubal pregnancy can rupture the mother’s fallopian tube. This usually requires emergency surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic. Associated symptoms include a sharp, stabbing pain in the pelvis, abdomen, shoulder or neck, dizziness and lightheadedness.

Additional Symptoms

You may experience symptoms of traditional pregnancy, along with the signs of an ectopic pregnancy, according to MedlinePlus. Typical signs of any pregnancy include nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, a missed period and low back pain. Swollen and tender breasts are usually one of the first signs indicating pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

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