Before going on to ectopic pregnancy symptoms, firstly it is important to understand what an ectopic pregnancy is: it is among the gravest of pregnancy complications, when the implantation of the fertilized egg or the embryo is implanted not in the uterine lining but elsewhere.
Most ectopic pregnancies occur when you are 2 weeks pregnant i.e., when the implantation occurs in the fallopian tube. In rare cases, the implantation could occur in the cervix or the ovary or abdomen.
An ectopic pregnancy fetus is typically unable to survive and this is a situation that is very dangerous; potentially fatal for the mother as well.
It is therefore very important to watch out for ectopic pregnancy symptoms.
The most commonly experienced ectopic pregnancy symptoms are bleeding and cramping; however, there are others that should be watched out for:
- The pain that is caused by an ectopic pregnancy is usually one sided, severe and persistent pain in the lower abdomen. The pain may be sharp or stabbing in nature.
- There could also be shoulder pain and pain in the lower back. The shoulder pain could be because of internal bleeding that places pressure on the diaphragm or other organs.
- There could also be rectal pressure experienced and pain when passing urine or having a bowel movement.
- Bleeding is one of the main ectopic pregnancy symptoms; which may be internal or vaginal. When the bleeding is vaginal, it will typically be different from regular menstrual blood; it will be darker in color and watery as well. [vaginal bleeding]
- Ectopic pregnancy will often cause internal bleeding which will manifest in ectopic pregnancy symptoms such as dizziness or feelings of weakness. Blood pressure may drop due to internal bleeding and if the fallopian tube ruptures, the pulse may weaken, and skin may feel clammy.
If any of these ectopic pregnancy symptoms are experienced, it is important to seek medical attention at once.
Once a diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy has been confirmed, treatment is started immediately.
Medicine to dissolve the pregnancy could be administered or if there has been a rupture of the tube, then surgery would have to be carried out on an emergency basis. There are several factors that increase risk of having an ectopic pregnancy:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (caused by Chlamydia or gonorrhea) is among the most important risk factors.
- Tubal endometriosis, which causes scarring, could be a cause.
- Abdominal surgeries such as C sections and appendicitis can also increase risk.
- Certain birth control methods such as the coil and the mini pill could also increase risk.
- Someone who has once experienced an ectopic pregnancy is more at risk of undergoing it a second time.