An ectopic or tubal pregnancy is a pregnancy in which the fertilised egg implants outside of the uterine cavity. The egg will usually implant in the fallopian tube, but other ectopic pregnancies include implantation in the ovaries, the cervix and the horns of the uterus. Unfortunately, ectopic pregnancies have become more common since the mid-1980s as a result of the rising incidence of STDs which can cause scarring to the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies are diagnosed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, more often than not between week 6 and week 8 and early detection is best. Ectopic pregnancies are very dangerous for the mother as they can rupture the fallopian tube, cause infertility and possibly result in death, therefore if you are risk and/or have experienced any of the signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy it is important you speak with your physician to ensure early diagnosis. We have compiled a list below to explain the methods of diagnosis most used by medical professionals today to detect ectopic pregnancies.
- Your HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels are measured and monitored using a quantitative HCG test.
- Your doctor carries out a vaginal exam and/or ultrasound to check for fallopian tube enlargement and bleeding in the abdomen.
- Or your doctor will perform a laparoscopy in which small incisions are made in your abdominal area and the doctor uses a laparoscope (a small camera) to examine your pelvic organs.