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What Is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy, also referred to as an extrauterine pregnancy or tubal pregnancy, is a pregnancy in which a fertilized egg implants and begins to develop outside of the uterus, typically in the fallopian tubes.

These pregnancies are nonviable and can be potentially life-threatening if left untreated.

What Causes an Ectopic Pregnancy? 

While some ectopic pregnancies can occur randomly or without a known cause, they can often be attributed to other health conditions or medical procedures. Scarring of reproductive organs is a common cause as the scar tissue may cause the egg to get stuck on its way to the uterus.

Ectopic pregnancies may be related to the following health conditions or habits: 

  • Smoking
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) 1
  • Endometriosis 
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Medical treatments, such as abortion 2
  • Fertility treatments 

Can Ectopic Pregnancies Be Moved? 

Unfortunately, no — ectopic pregnancies cannot be moved to the uterus and are considered nonviable, meaning they do not have the potential to make it to term. If you are diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, it’s essential to be treated as soon as possible to avoid a potentially fatal outcome. 

How Do I Know if I Have an Ectopic Pregnancy? 

Symptoms related to ectopic pregnancies can be similar to those of a normal pregnancy, including a missed period, nausea, or breast sensitivity. However, the longer the ectopic pregnancy is allowed to develop, the more noticeable the symptoms may become. 

The following may be symptoms of ectopic pregnancy:

 

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding (changing pads every hour) 
  • Dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness
  • Acute abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Pain in the shoulder area

Whether you are experiencing unusual symptoms or not, it’s important to rule out the presence of an ectopic pregnancy through an ultrasound scan.

If you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering abortion, it’s still essential to receive an ultrasound scan to confirm that you are not pregnant with an ectopic pregnancy.

Where Can I Get a Free Ultrasound Scan? 

BsideU for Life provides free and confidential ultrasound scans to help you learn more about your pregnancy and rule out the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy.  

Schedule your free appointment today!





1. Westergaard L, Phillipsen T, Scheibel J (1982). “Significance of cervical Chlamydia trachomatis infection in postabortal pelvic inflammatory disease.” Obstetrics and Gynecology, 68(5): 668-90; Ovigstad E, et al. (1983). “Pelvic inflammatory disease associated with Chlamydia trachomatis infection after therapeutic abortion.” Br J Vener Dis, 59: 189-92; Heisterberg L, et al. (1987). “The role of vaginal secretory immunoglobulin a, gardnerella vaginalis, anaerobes, and Chlamydia trachomatis in post abortal pelvic inflammatory disease.” Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 66(2): 99-102.

2. Bhattacharya, S. et al. Reproductive outcomes following induced abortion: a national register-based cohort study in Scotland. BMJ Open. 2, (2012).

Pregnancy Symptoms During the First Trimester

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The first three months can be the most challenging. Your body is changing and your hormones are all over the place.

Initially, you won’t look pregnant. For many women a “baby bump” appears at the end of the 2nd month and maybe at the end of the 3rd month. It really depends on your body. Whether or not you have a bump, be prepared for the symptoms of being pregnant.

Initial symptoms may include mood swings like crying or getting angry. Even extreme happiness can occur – remember…your hormones are all over the map. If you find yourself crying for no reason, it could be that you’re pregnant!

Some of the common symptoms of pregnancy mimic your menstrual cycle symptoms. Swollen, tender breasts are a good example of this. You probably experience this a week before your period as part of your PMS symptoms, but it happens when you become pregnant, too.

Morning sickness may or may not happen to you. You might initially think you’re coming down with the flu, or you have food poisoning. In reality, it’s the beginning of a wonderful 9-month journey that makes you nauseous.

Some women experience morning sickness only in the morning. Others have it all day long. There are different ways you can alleviate this symptom. Keep oyster crackers or saltine crackers by your bed to eat before you get up. Use the “seasick bands” you can wear on your wrists. If those don’t work, ask us here at the center for advice on what medications and other treatments are suitable during pregnancy.

Certain smells and foods may make you sick to your stomach. This includes items you previously craved and thought were delicious! At the same time, you might suddenly start craving things you never would have eaten before. This is very normal, so just feed your body what it wants.

You might notice that you have to go to the restroom more often. Your bladder will start to produce more urine and you’ll have to empty it frequently – during the day and throughout the night.

You might experience extreme fatigue during the initial stages of pregnancy. You won’t have as much energy and because you’re also feeling some morning sickness, it might make you confirm your feeling of having the flu. If it doesn’t end, like the flu would, then it could be due to pregnancy.

Dizziness and lightheadedness are common during the first trimester. Fainting is fairly common, so you want to be careful when you start to feel this way and prepare for this by sitting down and not forcing yourself to try to stand until the feeling passes.

Headaches are also common during the first trimester. You may have never experienced frequent headaches before, and suddenly they’re cropping up on a regular basis.

You want to check with your doctor to see what headache remedy he or she advises you to take because anything you take is also going to get to your baby, so you have to be careful not to take too much of anything – or the wrong kind of medication.

The first trimester can be draining. You might be very emotional and your body is undergoing changes. But once this part is over, you’ll start to feel much better. Remember, we at the center are here for you so talk to us!

How Do I Know If I’m Pregnant?

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