Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy

The initial signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, if any, may be identical to those of a normal pregnancy. These may be a missed period, nausea, fatigue and tenderness in the breasts. A pregnancy test will be positive. Often there are no indications of a pregnancy whatsoever, till the menstrual period is missed.

The first distinguishing signs of an ectopic pregnancy usually occur about six to eight weeks after the last normal menstrual period. In non-tubal pregnancies, the initial symptoms may be delayed. They may also be accompanied by the signs of a normal pregnancy like nausea and weakness. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Cramps in the pelvic region
  • Light bleeding from the vagina

The danger to life in an ectopic pregnancy lies in the rupturing of the fallopian tube which results in internal bleeding. Some of the symptoms of a rupture of the fallopian tube are:

  • Intense stabbing pain in the pelvis, abdomen, shoulder or neck
  • A feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Fainting
  • A weak and rapid pulse
  • A strong urge to defecate without any results

While these symptoms are indicative of an ectopic pregnancy, they may also be indicative of other conditions. On occasion, these symptoms could occur in the case of a miscarriage in non-ectopic pregnancies.

If you have any of these symptoms you should immediately seek medical help. Some of the things you can do to help your physician arrive at a diagnosis are:

  • Take a family member or close friend along for support in case you need immediate medical attention
  • Inform the doctor if your pregnancy test results were positive
  • The date of your last menstrual period and any abnormalities that you noticed
  • Make a list of all symptoms that you have been experiencing
  • List all pertinent medical information, including any treatments you are undergoing and any medication you are taking

Prepare yourself for the visit by making a list of questions to ask your doctor. Some of the pertinent questions you can ask that will help you understand your problem better are:

  • What is the most likely cause of my symptoms? Can it be something apart from an ectopic pregnancy?
  • What kind of tests do I require to confirm a diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy?
  • If it is an ectopic pregnancy, then what kind is it? Is it tubular or non-tubular?
  • What is the most appropriate treatment for me?
  • Will the treatment affect my chances of becoming pregnant again?
  • Will this affect my chances of having a normal pregnancy in the future?
  • How long will I have to wait before my next pregnancy?
In addition to these questions, if at any point in your consultation you cannot understand something, do not hesitate to ask for a clarification.