I have an ectopic pregnancy


An ectopic pregnancy occurs when an embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus (womb), like in one of the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy is an uncommon, but potentially life-threatening condition, occurring in 1.5–2% of pregnancies and can only be confirmed by an ultrasound after 6 weeks of pregnancy.1

If a woman cannot get an ultrasound, it is fine to use pills for abortion, as they will not worsen her condition.  Medical abortion pills will not work if a woman has an ectopic pregnancy. She may have some bleeding, but will not see clots or pregnancy tissue, because the pregnancy continues outside of the uterus.

Ectopic pregnancy can be asymptomatic in the initial stages. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy can often be vague, and include vaginal bleeding, abdominal or pelvic pain (usually stronger on one side), shoulder pain, weakness or dizziness. These symptoms can also occur in other conditions such as ovarian cysts, miscarriages, or even in normal pregnancy, so these symptoms alone do not mean a woman has an ectopic pregnancy. If an ectopic pregnancy is suspected, blood tests for beta-HCG, the hormone which is in the blood during the pregnancy, and ultrasound after 6 weeks can be used to help confirm the diagnosis. A ruptured ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening and needs emergency care. 1,2