Skip Navigation Links.
Collapse Patient Education MaterialsPatient Education Materials
Expand AIDS/HIVAIDS/HIV
Expand Back SurgeryBack Surgery
Expand Behavioral HealthBehavioral Health
Expand Breathing DisordersBreathing Disorders
Expand Cancer: MiscellaneousCancer: Miscellaneous
Expand CardiologyCardiology
Expand Cardiology DrugsCardiology Drugs
Expand Catheters, Drains, and PortsCatheters, Drains, and Ports
Expand ContraceptionContraception
Expand DiabetesDiabetes
Expand Eye CareEye Care
Expand FluFlu
Expand GastrointestinalGastrointestinal
Expand Infection ControlInfection Control
Expand Infectious DiseasesInfectious Diseases
Expand LiverLiver
Expand Men's HealthMen's Health
Expand MiscellaneousMiscellaneous
Expand Neurology/NeurosurgeryNeurology/Neurosurgery
Expand Nutrition and DietNutrition and Diet
Expand Older Adults & CaregiversOlder Adults & Caregivers
Expand OrthopaedicsOrthopaedics
Expand Ostomy CareOstomy Care
Expand OtolaryngologyOtolaryngology
Expand Pain ControlPain Control
Collapse Pregnancy and ChildbirthPregnancy and Childbirth
Expand RehabilitationRehabilitation
Expand Safety TipsSafety Tips
Expand Sexually Transmitted DiseasesSexually Transmitted Diseases
Expand SkinSkin
Expand SmokingSmoking
Expand SurgerySurgery
Expand Women's HealthWomen's Health

Ectopic Pregnancy

Most pregnancies happen in the uterus (womb). An ectopic (ek-TOP-ik) pregnancy is one that happens outside of the uterus. Often, an ectopic pregnancy happens in one of the fallopian (fa-LOW-pee-an) tubes, which run from the ovaries to the uterus.

If you have a positive pregnancy test, and the pregnancy cannot be seen on ultrasound, you may have an ectopic pregnancy. You also may have a normal pregnancy, but it’s too early to see the fetus by ultrasound.

You will have a blood test. The test will be repeated in 2 days. The results can help tell if you have an ectopic pregnancy.

An ectopic pregnancy is rare, but it is a serious condition. It can be life-threatening if you do not get medical care. An ectopic pregnancy can grow until it breaks through the fallopian tube. This is very painful. It can cause serious bleeding inside your lower belly (abdomen).

If this happens, you need to be treated in a hospital right away. An ectopic pregnancy is removed either by taking medicines or by having surgery.

Signs that you may have an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Severe lower belly pain
  • Lower belly pain that gets worse
  • Shoulder pain
  • Fainting or dizzy spells
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding

If you have any of these problems, call your doctor or go to an emergency room right away.

Tests after treatment

After you are treated for an ectopic pregnancy, your doctor may have you come back for an ultrasound or blood tests. These tests are very important. Please return at the date and time listed below.

 

Test: ____________________________________________________

Place: ____________________________________________________

Return Date: ____________________________________________________

Return Time: ____________________________________________________

Losing a pregnancy

There is no right way to react to losing a pregnancy. Many women are overcome with grief. You and your partner may want to seek a counselor or pregnancy loss support group. Call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) for more information on these services.

See the UPMC patient education page,  Pregnancy Loss: How to Cope.

Follow-up

If you have any concerns about your diagnosis, treatment, or effects of the treatment, or if you have questions about future pregnancies, talk to your doctor.

 

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com