Welcome to Laurie’s Big Blog – June 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.

How painful is an ectopic pregnancy?

Unilateral ( one sided) pelvic / lower abdominal discomfort or  pain is a common presenting feature of an ectopic pregnancy. If the pregnancy leaks or ruptures bleeding into the abdomen occurs and severe shoulder tip pain occurs due to blood tracking up under the diaphragm causing irritation (see symptoms of ectopic pregnancy on the website).

How common are ectopic pregnancies?

Ectopic pregnancy is an increasingly common condition in the United Kingdom and around the world.  In the United Kingdom is is thought to occur in 1 in 80 pregnancies. I have previously written a paper published in a peer reviewed medical journal reporting the rate or 2. 6 cases per 100 pregnancy the highest reported rate in the world ( see publication).

When do the symptoms usually begin to present?

Symptoms of vaginal discharge ( often described as prune juice in character) and unilateral pelvic discomfort or pain occur at about 6 weeks from your last menstrual period.  In the following days or weeks shoulder tip pain and feeling weak and fainting may occur (see website on symptoms of ectopic pregnancy).

If I want to get pregnant again after an ectopic pregnancy can I reduce my risk in any way?

The risks of ectopic pregnancy include previous ectopic pregnancy, previous abdominal surgery or pelvic infection with chlamydia which may have few, if any symptoms. It maybe wise that you and your partner get screened before embarking on another pregnancy (see website on chlamydia infection).

What other health conditions are most commonly associated with ectopic pregnancy?

Other health conditions as risk factors include previous abdominal surgery including a previous eczema pregnancy or caesarean.  Other conditions include pelvis infection especially with chlamydia (see website on chlamydia  and incident on ectopic pregnancy)