An ectopic pregnancy is one that occurs outside the uterus. In approximately 95 percent of all ectopic pregnancies, the embryo implants in a fallopian tube, according to the Kids Health website. The other 5 percent occur in the stomach area; the cervix, known as a cervical pregnancy; or the abdomen, called an abdominal pregnancy.
Normal Pregnancy Symptoms
According to the Kids Health website, ectopic pregnancy symptoms can mimic regular pregnancy symptoms, making it difficult to tell which type a pregnancy is. Regardless of the location where the embryo implants, the presence of a fertilized egg begins to impact your body. Hormonal changes, resulting from an increase in estrogen and progesterone, trigger many early pregnancy signs, according to the Expectant Mother’s Guide. Both types of pregnancies cause breast tenderness, missed periods, nausea, vomiting and an increase in the need to urinate.
Early Ectopic Pregnancy Signs
With almost every ectopic pregnancy, the symptoms change from that of a regular pregnancy. The Mayo Clinic reports these include vaginal bleeding, cramping and lower abdominal pain. The cramping tends to occur on one side of the pelvis. While cramping is also common in a regular pregnancy, the cramping tends to occur in the middle of the abdomen. Vaginal bleeding may be light, but it is usually more than spotting, a few drops of blood visible on toilet paper or in underwear. It also tends to be a dark brown color instead of the bright red color associated with a menstrual period.
Severe Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms
If you miss early ectopic pregnancy signs, you may develop more severe symptoms. The March of Dimes warns an ectopic pregnancy may rupture within several days or weeks of the early signs. When this occurs, the ectopic pregnancy grows too large for the organ where it embedded, and it ruptures the organ. Symptoms of this include sudden, stabbing pain reaching severe levels. The pain may occur in the pelvis or the abdomen. In some cases, stress on nerves or pressure on the diaphragm from the rupture causes pain in the neck or shoulder.
When an ectopic pregnancy ruptures, it can cause blood loss in your body. This can create new symptoms like lightheadedness, faintness or dizziness. Regular symptoms like nausea and fatigue may increase as a result of the rupture. If you begin experiencing these symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. Your doctor may recommend you call 911, depending on the severity of the symptoms.
- beaby shoes image by Adam Przezak from Fotolia.com