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Ectopic pregnancy is when a pregnancy grows outside of your uterus, usually in your fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancies are rare but serious, and they need to be treated.

What’s an ectopic pregnancy?

Normal pregnancies develop inside your uterus, after a fertilized egg travels through your fallopian tube and attaches to your uterine lining. Ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg attaches somewhere else in your body, usually in your fallopian tube — that’s why it’s sometimes called “tubal pregnancy.”

Ectopic pregnancies can also happen on your ovary, or somewhere else in your belly.

Ectopic pregnancies are rare — it happens in about 2 out of every 100 pregnancies. But they’re very dangerous if not treated. Fallopian tubes can break if stretched too much by the growing pregnancy — this is sometimes called a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. This can cause internal bleeding, infection, and in some cases lead to death.

Am I at risk for an ectopic pregnancy?

We don’t always know the cause of ectopic pregnancy. But you may be more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy if you:

  • have had an STD, pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis

  • have already had an ectopic pregnancy

  • have had pelvic or abdominal surgery

  • are 35 or older

  • smoke cigarettes

If you get pregnant after you’ve been sterilized or while you have an IUD, it’s more likely to be ectopic. But this is very rare, because these types of birth control are super effective at preventing pregnancy.

Can I get pregnant again after an ectopic pregnancy?

Most people who have an ectopic pregnancy can have healthy pregnancies in the future, depending on the treatment you had and the condition of your fallopian tubes. If one of your fallopian tubes was removed or your tubes are scarred, it may be more difficult to get pregnant. If you have an ectopic pregnancy, you’re more likely to get another one in the future.