At first, an ectopic pregnancy might not cause any signs or symptoms. In other cases, early signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy might be the same as those of any pregnancy — a missed period, breast tenderness and nausea. If you take a pregnancy test, the result will be positive. Still, an ectopic pregnancy can't continue as normal.

Abdominal or pelvic pain and light vaginal bleeding are often the first warning signs of an ectopic pregnancy. If blood leaks from the fallopian tube, it's also possible to feel shoulder pain or an urge to have a bowel movement — depending on where the blood pools or which nerves are irritated. Heavy vaginal bleeding is unlikely, unless the ectopic pregnancy occurs in the cervix.

If the fallopian tube ruptures, heavy bleeding inside the abdomen is likely — followed by lightheadedness, fainting and shock.

When to see a doctor

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

  • Severe abdominal or pelvic pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding
  • Extreme lightheadedness or fainting
Feb. 09, 2012

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