Welcome to Laurie’s Big Blog – January 2024

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.

Does an ectopic pregnancy cause pain?

An early ectopic pregnancy may not cause pain. When the pregnancy grows it causes stretching of the Fallopian tube. At first, abdominal unilateral or pelvic discomfort or pain may occur. If the pregnancy continues the tube may rupture leading to bleaching into the abdomen and causing diaphragmatic irritation causing referred pain in the shoulder tips. See Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy for more information.

When do symptoms usually start to present?

Symptoms occur in early pregnancy usually at about six weeks after the last menstrual period. At first, they may be mild with vague lower abdominal or pelvic discomfort on one side. If the pregnancy continues, pain and also vaginal discharge occur which is described as being prune-like in appearance. See the above blog answers or see Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy for more information.

Can I do anything to prevent an ectopic pregnancy from occurring?

There is no absolute way that you can prevent an ectopic pregnancy except by having both ovaries removed which is obviously not an option. You can reduce your risk by considering having a sexual screening test along with your partner. These screening tests would include checks for chlamydia which may be asymptomatic but is a well-recognised cause of tubal damage leading to an ectopic pregnancy.  See the Risk Factors for Ectopic Pregnancy.

Can I still get pregnant after an ectopic pregnancy?

It is possible to become pregnant again after a previous ectopic pregnancy and you should attempt a subsequent pregnancy when you are psychologically prepared. Also, it is possible to have another ectopic pregnancy as the vast majority (>80 percent) are intrauterine. See the section on Subsequent Pregnancy.

Can I have an IUCD after an ectopic pregnancy?

Yes, previously it was a contradicted to have a IUCD fitted. With the new generation of devices such as the mirena coil this is considered a safe and effective contraceptive and treatment of menstrual problems