Ectopic Pregnancy

Signs and Symptoms of a Tubal Pregnancy

Tubal pregnancies present a threat to the life and reproductive health of women. Early detection remains the best chance for minimizing complications. Learn to recognize the symptoms of tubal pregnancy. Doing so could save your life. Recognizing Ectopic Pregnancy

Tubal pregnancy, also called ectopic pregnancy, occurs when the fertilized egg implants in a fallopian tube. According to Togas Tulandi, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at McGill University, the condition is the leading cause of maternal death, accounting for four to ten percent of all pregnancy-related deaths. Approximately two percent of early pregnancies are ectopic.

Detecting this situation early makes complications less likely, so awareness of the symptoms is essential. According to MedicineNet, symptoms of tubal pregnancy may arise about six to eight weeks after your last missed period, although in some cases it may be later depending on where the blastocyst implants. Normal Pregnancy Symptoms

According to, in its earliest stages, ectopic pregnancy is likely to present just like any other early pregnancy. You may experience these normal early pregnancy symptoms: Breast tenderness Fatigue Missed period Nausea Positive pregnancy test

These symptoms can alert you that you are pregnant, but they do not allow you to differentiate between a normal and tubal pregnancy. As the pregnancy progresses, however, other symptoms may occur. Vaginal Bleeding

Approximately 10 percent of all women experience vaginal bleeding during their pregnancy. While this may be a normal occurrence such as implantation bleeding, it could also signal something is wrong such as ectopic pregnancy. During tubal pregnancy, vaginal bleeding may appear abnormal. It may be heavier, brighter red, darker, or less viscous than normal menstrual blood. It may also come and go intermittently or flow continuously. In general, bleeding associated with ectopic pregnancy will occur six weeks or longer after your last normal period. If abnormal bleeding occurs, or you experience it along with other symptoms of tubal pregnancy, seek emergency medical care. Pain

Many pregnant women experience pain similar to menstrual cramps in the early stages of pregnancy. This cramping is almost never worse than your normal period cramping. While cramps may indicate ectopic pregnancy, according to BabyCenter, certain types of pain may be more likely to indicate you are experiencing a tubal pregnancy and need immediate medical attention: Sharp, stabbing pain in the lower back, or side-upper abdomen Pelvic heaviness or discomfort that occurs intermittently, consistently, or when you are coughing or having a bowel movement One-sided pain in your pelvic or abdominal region Shoulder pain, particularly when you lie down Sudden onset, severe, and/or persistent pain Cramping that is more severe than your normal period cramps Pain or cramping associated with bleeding or other signs of ectopic pregnancy Signs of Blood Loss

During tubal pregnancy, you may experience weakness, dizziness, drops in blood pressure, or episodes of nearly fainting. These can all indicate internal bleeding associated with tubal rupture. Shock

Signs of shock indicate a medical emergency and are common during a fallopian rupture associated with tubal pregnancy. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience the following: Clammy skin Racing, weak pulse Pale or ashen complexion Rapid drop in blood pressure Loss of mental alertness or confusion Other Symptoms

You also may experience other symptoms including the following: Intense rectal pressure Nausea and vomiting A sense something is not right

Not all women experience the same symptoms of tubal pregnancy. You know what is normal for your body. If you suspect something is not normal, see your doctor. Risk Factors that Increase Incidence of Tubal Pregnancy

Knowing who is at risk for ectopic pregnancy is a valuable tool for assessing symptoms associated with tubal pregnancy. If you experience the above symptoms and have any of the following risk factors, seek immediate medical attention: A history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) Previous abdominal surgery Previous ectopic pregnancy Currently using some form of birth control, such as IUD, Tubal ligation or birth control pills Reversal of a tubal ligation You are 35 or older You have experienced fertility problems Seek Immediate Treatment

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