With so many variables in motion, getting pregnant can be a difficult process for many women. One problem that some women experience is an ectopic pregnancy. We’re going to discuss what an ectopic pregnancy is, the symptoms, causes, and a few risk factors.

What Is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. When an ectopic pregnancy occurs, the fertilized egg implants and grows outside the uterus instead. It’s important to note that an ectopic pregnancy usually occurs in the fallopian tubes, but it can also occur in other areas such as the ovary or abdominal cavity.

Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy isn’t always easy to catch. This is because a lot of the symptoms are similar to the symptoms associated with early signs of pregnancy, such as a missed period, nausea, and breast tenderness. With that said, there are still some key indicators to watch out for. For instance, if you have light vaginal bleeding and pelvic floor pain, this could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. Additionally, if blood leaks from the fallopian tube, it’s common to feel pain in the shoulder or an urge to have a bowel movement. More severe symptoms include heavy bleeding inside the abdomen. This is a result of a ruptured tube. If you feel extreme lightheadedness, fainting or shock, seek medical attention immediately.

Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy

There are various factors that can cause an ectopic pregnancy.

Some factors include:

  • Inflammation and scarring of the fallopian tubes
  • Certain hormonal factors
  • Genetics
  • Birth defects
  • Medical conditions that affect the shape and condition of the fallopian tubes as well as reproductive organs
two women looking at a computer screen

Risk Factors

The best way to avoid an ectopic pregnancy is to understand the risk factors that can increase your chances of having one. Here are a few risk factors to consider.

  • Being the maternal age of 35 years or older
  • Previous ectopic pregnancy
  • History of pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Smoking
  • History of sexually transmitted diseases

If you are currently pregnant or plan to get pregnant, it’s important to know what ectopic pregnancy is and the warning signs to protect your health. If you believe you might be having an ectopic pregnancy, be sure to reach out to us at WFMC Health.

Do you have more questions about pregnancy in Salem OregonTalk to our staff at WFMC Health or become a new patient today!

This post was first published on wfmchealth.org.