An ectopic pregnancy, also called a tubal pregnancy, is a pregnancy that grows outside the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies often grow in one of the fallopian tubes. The pregnancy can also grow in the ovary, cervix (bottom part of uterus) or the abdomen.
A tubal pregnancy cannot grow like a normal pregnancy. As the fetus grows, the tube is stretched. If the tube bursts, there can be severe bleeding inside the abdomen. your like could be in danger and emergency surgery must be done.
Some possible reasons for an ectopic pregnancy are tubal infection, a growth pressing against the tube, past tubal surgery or past tubal pregnancy. A condition called endometriosis can also cause an ectopic pregnancy.
Common symptoms are dull pain or sharp lower abdominal pain and spotty or heavy vaginal bleeding. You may have back and right shoulder pain. You could be nauseated, faint, weak, have vomiting or cold sweats or feel as though you heart is racing.
Surgery is usually needed to remove an ectopic pregnancy and repair or remove the damaged fallopian tube. It must be done even if the tube has not burst.
Women can die from an ectopic pregnancy but the risks of serious illness or death are very small if the pregnancy is surgically removed.
Source: The PDR Family Guide, Encyclopedia of Medical Care (1997