Ectopic Pregnancy & Abortion

An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg implants and develops outside the uterus, most commonly in a fallopian tube, and is a life-threatening event for the mother if left untreated.

An ectopic pregnancy can’t proceed normally. The fertilized egg can’t survive, and as the developing embryo continues to grow in the fallopian tube, it can cause the tube to rupture. Heavy bleeding inside the abdomen is likely. Symptoms of this life-threatening event include extreme lightheadedness, fainting and shock.

Approximately one in every 100 women run the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

Seek emergency medical help if you have any signs or symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, including:

  • Severe abdominal or pelvic pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding
  • Extreme lightheadedness or fainting
  • Shoulder pain


It is important to act immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms following a positive pregnancy test as a ruptured fallopian tube is a life-threatening event.

To prevent life-threatening complications, the fertilized egg needs to be removed. Depending on your symptoms and when the ectopic pregnancy is discovered, this may be done using medication, laparoscopic surgery or abdominal surgery.

Treatment for an ectopic pregnancy that removes the fertilized egg is not an abortion; it is a lifesaving medical procedure, which treats a medical emergency event for the mother. An abortion is the deliberated termination of a viable intrauterine pregnancy. In some cases, the fallopian tube can be saved. Typically, however, a ruptured tube must be removed.

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