Welcome to Laurie’s Big Blog – January 2021

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.

Can you have an ectopic pregnancy with the coil, IUD or Mirena coil?

Intrauterine contraceptive devices IUCD are inserted into the uterine cavity to act as a contraceptive. The Mirena IUCD, which releases a progestogen, can also be used to treat hearty menstrual blood loss as well as act as a contraceptive. The IUCD acts to prevent the fertilised egg (ovum) implanting in the uterine cavity.

However fertilisation does not occur in the uterus but in the fallopian tube. An IUCD cannot prevent a fertilised ovum implanting in the fallopian tube which results in an ectopic pregnancy.

Is it possible to have an ectopic pregnancy without any pain?

There is no pain when the fertilised ovum first implants in the fallopian tube. The pain of an ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fallopian tube is stretched and usually causes one-sided lower abdominal pain. If the ectopic pregnancy ruptures with intra-abdominal bleeding, pain can occur in the shoulder tip.

Can an ectopic pregnancy occur near the ovary?

The vast majority of ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube which is closely related to the ovary. It is very unusual, but an ectopic pregnancy can occur in the ovary (see the abstract in the bibliography section of the website).

Is the baby alive in an ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is not an baby. It usually presents in the early weeks from the last period, before organs have formed. A tubal pregnancy has never been reported to have resulted in a live birth.

What’s the difference between an ectopic pregnancy and a miscarriage?

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy which develops outside the uterine cavity usually in the fallopian tube. A miscarriage is when a pregnancy is situated in the uterine cavity but does not continue and the pregnancy is usually passed with vaginal bleeding.

What’s the difference between ectopic pregnancy and ovarian cyst symptoms?

An ovarian cyst may cause no symptoms. Cysts don’t present with vaginal bleeding. Pain can occur if the cyst is large enough to twist on itself causing acute, sharp, one-sided, lower abdominal pain. Pain can also occur if there is bleeding into the cyst.

In a pregnancy, either intrauterine or ectopic, a functional cyst called a corpus luteum can develop. These usually resolve within a few months but can occasionally cause pain.