Every month we will identify the 6 most commonly asked questions about ectopic pregnancy and answer them. If you have any further questions which you cannot find answers to on the website, please can you contact us.
How long does it take to recover from ectopic pregnancy?
The recovery time depends on the surgery. If it is carried out laparoscopically (keyhole) you would usually be discharged from hospital the following day.
If it is carried out open (when the abdomen is opened usually by a bikini Incision ) you maybe in hospital for a few days. Every patient is different and the psychological recovery can be unpredictable (see our psychological impact of ectopic pregnancy page).
There are no special preparations, but it’s important that you are given and understand post-operative advice before being discharged from hospital.
What should I expect when I recover from ectopic pregnancy?
After surgery, you may feel nauseous and drowsy after the general anaesthetic for a few hours. Shoulder tip discomfort is also common due to irritation of the diaphragm due to the gas used in laparoscopic surgery. If your surgery was carried out open you may have discomfort over the incision and could be given analgesics for this.
How can I prepare for ectopic pregnancy surgery recovery?
As surgery for ectopic pregnancy is most commonly carried out as an emergency there is little to be done in preparation apart from being kept nil by mouth as will be explained when you are assessed pre-operatively by the anesthetist (see our article on surgical management of ectopic pregnancy)
Will I be able to go back to work after ectopic pregnancy surgery?
There no hard and fast rules and recovery time depends on both the type of surgery that you have had, and also individual factors including discomfort threshold. This also depends on the type of work undertaken. It’s important to return to work when you are physically and psychologically confident.
Is it safe to try for a baby after ectopic pregnancy surgery?
The decision to attempt another pregnancy is down to the woman, and depends on physical and psychological well-being. There is no strong evidence that trying straight after surgery or waiting for months has any bearing on the outcome of a subsequent pregnancy.
How can I help my recovery from ectopic pregnancy?
Recovery after an operation for ectopic pregnancy depends on whether it was laparoscopic or open (see our article on surgical management of ectopic pregnancy and videos on ectopic pregnancy). It is important to get clear advice from the hospital before discharge. Generally, Laparoscopic surgery has a shorter recovery time and return to normal activities. If your surgery was Open, your hospital stay maybe longer. Due to discomfort over the incision it may be advised that you should not drive for up to six weeks post operatively.