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Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb. This is usually in one of the fallopian tubes, angles of the womb where the tubes join the womb, ovary, caesarean scar, cervix or abdomen. If an egg gets stuck in your fallopian tubes, it won't develop into a baby and your health may be at risk if the pregnancy continues. Unfortunately, it's not possible to save the pregnancy. The egg must usually be removed using medicine or an operation.

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy may not cause symptoms and may only be detected during a routine pregnancy scan. If you do experience any symptoms, they tend to develop between the 4th and 12th week of pregnancy.

Symptoms can include a combination of:

  • a missed period and other signs of pregnancy
  • Abdominal pain low down on one side
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or a brown watery discharge
  • pain in the tip of your shoulder
  • bowel or bladder problems

When to get medical advice

Contact your GP or call NHS 111 Wales if you have a combination of any of the above symptoms and you suspect you might be pregnant. It's important you get advice right away as an ectopic pregnancy can be serious.

Call 999 for an ambulance if you experience a combination of:

  • a sharp, sudden and intense pain in your tummy
  • feeling very dizzy or fainting
  • feeling sick
  • looking very pale

Health advice following an ectopic pregnancy 

Following treatment of your ectopic pregnancy, your doctor will offer health advice including guidance on conceiving again in the future. Further information can be found on the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust website

Preconception care can improve your chances of getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy, and having a healthy baby. These are some things to consider if you are planning a future pregnancy: 

It's important you speak to your GP if you get pregnancy in the future as they may need to refer you to our Early Pregnancy Unit for further support. 

Where to get support and further information on ectopic pregnancy