A fallopian tube pregnancy, also called a tubal pregnancy, happens when a woman’s fertilized egg attaches to a place outside the uterus and inside the fallopian tube. A baby cannot develop normally in the fallopian tube, so this condition has to be treated. If not treated, a fallopian tube pregnancy is usually fatal. A fallopian tube pregnancy happens in one out of every 60 pregnancies, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Knowing the signs and the causes of a fallopian tube pregnancy will help you to detect one better. The sooner it is detected, the better.
A fallopian tube pregnancy usually causes a sharp, stabbing pain that comes and goes and varies in intensity. You may experience pain in your pelvis, abdomen (especially on one side) or even in your shoulder or neck if the tubal pregnancy ruptures, because the blood build-up irritates the nerves. You may also feel tender in your abdomen or experience lower back pain.
Vaginal bleeding that can be heavier or lighter than your regular period or vaginal spotting can be a sign of a fallopian tube pregnancy. Cramping will accompany the bleeding. This spotting or bleeding usually occurs just after your first missed period, according to the Cedars-Sinai website.
You may feel nauseous and vomit due to a fallopian tube pregnancy. Morning sickness, which is a normal symptom of early pregnancy, also causes nausea and vomiting, so this symptom alone is not necessarily indicative of a fallopian tube pregnancy.
Weakness and Dizziness
You may feel week and dizzy because of the loss of blood. You may even faint. If this happens, it is usually when you are six to eight weeks along, and your tube has ruptured.
Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure is also caused by blood loss.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is one of the main reasons women develop fallopian tube pregnancies, because PID partially or entirely blocks the fallopian tube, resulting in the egg becoming stuck there. If you have that, you may be more at risk for developing a fallopian tube pregnancy.
Endometriosis can cause scar tissue that can also block the fallopian tube. If you have a history of endometriosis, you may be more at risk for developing a fallopian tube pregnancy.
Birth Control Methods
Some birth control methods can increase your chances of developing a fallopian tube pregnancy. Progesterone-only oral contraceptives, progesterone intrauterine devices (IUD) and the morning-after pill may make you more likely to have a fallopian tube pregnancy.
Smoking and Multiple Partners
Smoking and having multiple sexual partners increases the risk of fallopian tube pregnancies, according to the Kids Health website.