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  • How do I know if I have an ectopic pregnancy?

Ectopic pregnancy symptoms often include pain and bleeding. Only a doctor can tell you for sure if you have an ectopic pregnancy.

Do I have an ectopic pregnancy?

Getting checked out by a doctor is the only way to know for sure if you have an ectopic pregnancy. Your doctor or nurse may do a pelvic exam, blood test, or ultrasound to find out.

The sooner you get treated for an ectopic pregnancy, the better. So if you think you have an ectopic pregnancy, or if you have lots of low belly pain (especially on one side) or abnormal vaginal bleeding, call your nurse or doctor right away.

What are ectopic pregnancy symptoms?

Ectopic pregnancies can seem like normal pregnancies in the very beginning, with typical pregnancy symptoms like a missed period, breast tenderness, fatigue, and nausea. Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy include:

  • severe lower belly pain, especially on one side

  • vaginal bleeding or spotting

  • shoulder pain

  • feeling very weak, dizzy, or fainting

If you have severe pain or bleeding, go to the emergency room right away. If you have any other symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, contact your doctor or nurse as soon as you can. The earlier an ectopic pregnancy is found and treated, the safer you’ll be.

What’s the treatment for an ectopic pregnancy?

A pregnancy won’t survive if it’s ectopic, because a fertilized egg can’t grow fully outside your uterus.

Ectopic pregnancy treatment is medicine or surgery:

  • You get shots of a medicine called methotrexate that ends the ectopic pregnancy. It stops the fertilized egg’s cells from growing, and your body absorbs any cells that have already developed. This shouldn’t damage the fallopian tubes at all.

  • The pregnancy is removed with a surgical procedure using laparoscopy. Your doctor makes a small cut near your belly button, and removes the pregnancy using surgical tools and a tiny camera to see inside your body. This is the most common treatment for ectopic pregnancy. Sometimes, this procedure causes scarring in your fallopian tube, or a piece of fallopian tube needs to be removed.

Your doctor will talk with you about what treatment is best for you.

How will I feel after ectopic pregnancy?

Ectopic pregnancy is a kind of early pregnancy loss. Many people have the same feelings as those who experience other kinds of pregnancy loss, like miscarriage, especially if they wanted to be pregnant.

You may feel a mix of emotions, including disappointment, shock, fear, grief, and/or relief. These are all normal, and usually feel less intense over time. Your doctor or local Planned Parenthood health center can suggest resources and support groups to help you with your emotions.

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