In an ectopic pregnancy, the embryo implants itself outside of the womb (usually in the fallopian tubes) instead of within the womb.
Fertilised eggs cannot develop into a baby outside of the womb (also known as the uterus).
What are the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy?
The symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy tend to develop between the 4th and 12th weeks of pregnancy, but it will not always cause symptoms.
Ectopic pregnancies can be detected during routine pregnancy scans.
They can be serious, so speak to your GP, pregnancy unit or call 111 as soon as possible if you’re pregnant (or might be pregnant) and experience a combination of:
- a missed period and other signs of pregnancy
- tummy pain low down on 1 side
- vaginal bleeding or a brown watery discharge
- pain in the tip of your shoulder
- discomfort when peeing or pooing
These above signs aren’t necessarily a sign of something serious, but you should still seek medical advice.
Seek immediate emergency help from 999 if you experience a combination of:
- a sharp, sudden and intense pain in your tummy
- feeling very dizzy or fainting
- feeling sick
- looking very pale
Following an ectopic pregnancy
Losing a baby can be difficult, both physically and emotionally, but there is no right or wrong way to feel.
If you or your family are struggling to come to terms with the loss, speak to your GP about getting professional support or counselling.
You may also benefit from free support provided by the following groups:
- The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust
- The Ectopic Pregnancy Foundation
- The Miscarriage Association
- Cruse Bereavement Care