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.
Light vaginal bleeding with abdominal or pelvic pain is often the first warning sign 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. 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:
Jan. 20, 2015
- Severe abdominal or pelvic pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding
- Extreme lightheadedness or fainting
- Shoulder pain
- Frequently asked questions. Pregnancy FAQ 0155. Ectopic pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Ectopic-Pregnancy. Accessed Dec. 9, 2014.
- Cunningham FG, et al. Williams Obstetrics. 24th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=1057. Accessed Dec. 9, 2014.
- Tulandi T. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and management of ectopic pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Dec. 9, 2014.
- Tulandi T. Incidence, risk factors, and pathology of ectopic pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Dec. 9, 2014.
- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 15, 2014.