Welcome to Laurie’s Big Blog – March 2022

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 are the signs of ectopic pregnancy at 6 weeks?

Ectopic pregnancy usually presents at about 6 weeks after the last period. Symptoms include brown vaginal discharge and one sided lower abdominal or pelvic discomfort or pain . Other symptoms include feeling faint or actually fainting. Later symptoms are one sided shoulder tip pain when lying flat due to blood from a leaking of ruptured ectopic pregnancy tracking down behind the diaphragm leading to referred pain. See the Signs of Ectopic Pregnancy page for more information.

Can Covid-19 increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy?

There is no evidence that any of the Covid-19 variants cause ectopic pregnancy. However due to changes in the way health care is provided, especially with more phone or zoom consultation, the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy could be delayed. See our Covid-19 information and What to do if you think you have an ectopic pregnancy pages for more information.

Can you test for ectopic pregnancy?

If an ectopic pregnancy is suspected and the woman is clinically well, there are investigations that are preformed. These include a measurement of bHCG and a transvaginal to look for adnexal masses and excessive fluid (blood) behind the uterus in the pouch of Douglas.

Is bowel pain a symptom of ectopic pregnancy?

Ectopic pregnancy can be very difficult to diagnose due to the wide range of symptoms which may be mild. Vague mild gastrointestinal upset maybe the first symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy and it is important that all health care professionals understand this and have a low index of suspicion and further investigations (see the answer above).

Visit the Signs of Ectopic Pregnancy page for more information.

Does an ectopic pregnancy have a heartbeat?

On transvaginal scan it is uncommon to actually see foetal cardiac activity in an ectopic pregnancy. However, if this is seen then it has a bearing on further management of the ectopic pregnancy. This means that drug treatment with methotrexate is not an option and surgical management should be considered.

For more information visit these pages:

Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment
Surgical Management of Ectopic Pregnancy
Surgical Videos (Warning: videos and images contain graphic images of surgery -not suitable for those under the age of 18.)