What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy (sometimes called a tubal pregnancy) is a pregnancy that implants outside of the uterus – most commonly in the fallopian tubes.

Ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition in which the pregnancy cannot be sustained – meaning there is no chance of survival for the baby – and the life of the mother is at risk if not treated.

Risk Factors of Ectopic Pregnancy:

  • A previous tubal pregnancy in your reproductive history
  • Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea or chlamydia
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  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • History of corrective surgery on the fallopian tube
  • Use of an intrauterine device (IUD) as birth control
  • Smoking

Common Symptoms of A Tubal Pregnancy:

  • Severe lower stomach pain, especially on one side
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • Shoulder pain
  • Feeling weak, dizzy, or fainting

What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have a Tubal Pregnancy?

If you are experiencing severe pain or bleeding, you need to go to the nearest emergency room immediately. Conversely, if you have any other symptoms, reach out to your doctor as soon as possible. Ultrasound is the only way to determine if a pregnancy is ectopic.

How is a Tubal Pregnancy Treated?

According to Mayo Clinic, a fertilized egg can’t develop normally outside the uterus. [1] To prevent life-threatening complications to the mother, the tubal pregnancy needs to be treated.

Further, the Charlotte Lozier Institute breaks down treatment options like this: “methotrexate injection, surgical removal of the pregnancy tissue (salpingostomy), surgical removal of the tube (salpingectomy).” [2]

Is Treatment of an Ectopic Pregnancy the Same Thing as Abortion?

The medical treatments for tubal pregnancies are not the same treatments used for induced abortions. The fetus or embryo is not viable, and no amount of medical intervention exists to make it so. Therefore, tubal pregnancy treatment is not abortion.


Ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition that carries risk to the mother and unavoidable loss of the baby. If you are in significant pain or bleeding, please go to the nearest emergency room immediately. If you have some of the symptoms listed above but are not bleeding or in pain, please seek help as soon as possible.


[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372093

[2] https://lozierinstitute.org/fact-sheet-medical-indications-for-separating-a-mother-and-her-unborn-child/