Ectopic means “out of place.” In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants and develops in the uterus. In most ectopic pregnancies, the egg settles in the fallopian tubes. This is why ectopic pregnancies are commonly called “tubal pregnancies.” The egg can also implant in the ovary, abdomen, or the cervix, so you also might see these referred to as cervical or abdominal pregnancies.
None of these areas has as much space or nurturing tissue as a uterus for a pregnancy to develop. As the fetus grows, it will eventually burst the organ that contains it. This can cause severe bleeding and endanger the mother's life. A classical ectopic pregnancy does not develop into a live birth.
Signs and Symptoms
Ectopic pregnancy can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms often mirror those of a normal early pregnancy. These can include missed periods, breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, or frequent urination.
The first warning signs of an ectopic pregnancy are often pain or vaginal bleeding. There might be pain in the pelvis, abdomen, or, even the shoulder or neck (if blood from a ruptur