Welcome to Laurie’s Big Blog – December 2023

Every month we will identify the 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.

What resources are available to help me with an ectopic pregnancy loss?

Ectopic pregnancy is a serious and increasingly common condition that accounts for up to 1-2% of pregnancy in the United Kingdom. If treated surgically it is usually a one-night stay. If there is follow up it could be with your general practitioner. It is well recognised that there may be psychological issues and it may be possible for counselling to be arranged. Click here for the psychological aspects of ectopic pregnancy. Also, some find it helpful to post details of their experiences and read about other women. Please click here for our Case Histories.

A goal of the Ectopic Pregnancy Foundation is to establish a counselling service once we have raised sufficient funding. The EPF does not receive central funding but relies solely on generous donations from the general public, who have undertaken charitable events including tea parties, and others running marathons. Due to the COVID epidemic, donations have dropped significantly, and you can donate by clicking here to donate via our website.

What are the chances of having a second ectopic pregnancy?

After a first ectopic pregnancy subsequent pregnancies are inter-uterine, and the recurrent rate is quoted at about 18%. As this is the case, it is important in a subsequent pregnancy to be seen by health care professionals and a vaginal scan may be undertaken to locate the site of the pregnancy.

Does experiencing shoulder pain early in the pregnancy mean it will be an ectopic pregnancy?

Various aches and pains are common in early pregnancy and are usually self-limiting. With a leaking or ruptured ectopic pregnancy, intra-abdomen bleeding occurs and, when the woman lies flat, blood tracts down behind the diaphragm and causes referred pain which is classically described as shoulder tip pain.

How long does it take to recover physically from an Ectopic Pregnancy?

Recovery time depends on the individual and the type of surgery that they had. With laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery they are usually discharged the following day and back to normal activities in a few days.

If open (laparotomy) surgery is performed a hospital stay of a few days is usual as there is a bikini scar on the abdomen. This takes longer to heal and may take weeks – see Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment for more information.

Is ectopic pregnancy related to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a common gynaecological condition which may occur in up to 20% of women of reproductive age in the United Kingdom. It is a recognised risk factor for the development of an ectopic pregnancy – see section on PCOS symptoms and treatment for more information.