An ectopic pregnancy is one that occurs outside the uterus. Because the pregnancy is not in the uterus, it cannot progress normally and must be removed. About 1 in 60 pregnancies are ectopic. Usually the pregnancy is in a fallopian tube. A ruptured tubal pregnancy will cause major bleeding into the abdomen and can even cause death. The symptoms are typically pelvic pain (usually a sharp pain on one side) and vaginal bleeding. If the tube has ruptured, there may be shoulder pain, dizziness, or fainting. Since there may not be much warning, you should call your doctor if you have pain or bleeding.
The treatment for an ectopic pregnancy varies according to how early the problem is found. Sometimes the pregnancy can be removed from the fallopian tube using laproscopic surgical technique. This will preserve the fallopian tube for future pregnancies.
If the pregnancy is larger, or the tube has ruptured, a larger incision will need to be made. This is called a laparotomy. It may be possible to remove the pregnancy from the fallopian tube, or in some cases the fallopian tube may need to be removed.
Sometimes methotrexate may be given to stop the growth of the pregnancy. Your body will absorb the tissue over time. The progression of this treatment is monitored by blood tests.