E is for Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than inside the uterus. Almost all ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube and are thus sometimes called tubal pregnancies. The fallopian tubes are not designed to hold a growing embryo; thus, the fertilized egg in a tubal pregnancy cannot develop properly and must be treated. An ectopic pregnancy happens in 1 out of 50 pregnancies.

What causes an ectopic pregnancy?

Ectopic pregnancies are caused by one or more of the following:

-An infection or inflammation of the fallopian tube can cause it to become partially or entirely blocked.

-Scar tissue from a previous infection or a surgical procedure on the tube may also impede the egg’s movement.

-Previous surgery in the pelvic area or on the tubes can cause adhesions.

-Abnormal growths or a birth defect can result in an abnormality in the tube’s shape.

Who is at risk for having an ectopic pregnancy?

-Maternal age of 35-44 years

-Previous ectopic pregnancy

-Previous pelvic or abdominal surgery

-Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

-Several induced abortions

-Conceiving after having a tubal ligation or while an IUD is in place



-Undergoing fertility treatments or are using fertility medications