Welcome to Laurie’s Big Blog – September 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. 

How do I know if I am having an ectopic pregnancy?

The symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are classically where missed period pelvic discomfort progresses to unilateral sharp pain (also ‘prune juice’ is often reported). For further information on the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy click on For Patients on ectopic pregnancy in the menu above.

Does an ectopic pregnancy affect the colour of my bleeding?

Mensural period bleeding is usually fresh red blood whereas in vaginal loss, suggestive of a possible ectopic pregnancy, it is classically described as ‘prune juice’ in appearance.

I have excess/no free fluid in my Pouch of Douglas, does this mean I am having an ectopic pregnancy?

Free fluid in the pouch of Douglas is a common and normal finding on trans-vaginal ultrasound scan. This, on its own, is not suggestive of an ectopic pregnancy. However the whole clinical picture history and other trans-vaginal findings are very important. These include the absence of a uterine pregnancy and an adnexal mass and the suggestion that the fluid appears as blood. It is unusual to see a foetal heartbeat outside the uterine cavity.

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.

What are the chances of having an ectopic pregnancy twice?

Most women who have one ectopic pregnancy, when pregnant again, have an inter-uterine pregnancy. Reported rates of a second ectopic pregnancy is said to be between 10 and 15%.