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Ectopic pregnancy: risk factors

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, so we thought it would be best to give you a list of the risk factors associated with ectopic pregnancies so you can determine if you are at risk for an ectopic pregnancy and whether you should be on the look out for the signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy during your first trimester.

Risk factors:

  • If you have/had PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) which causes scarring and blockage of the fallopian tubes
  • History of STDs especially chlamydia and gonorrhea
  • Previous experience of an ectopic pregnancy
  • Prior tubal ligation
  • Getting pregnant while using an IUD (intrauterine device)
  • Your mother took DES (diethylstilbestrol) while pregnant with you
  • Using infertility treatments
  • History of pelvic infections and surgeries, such as the removal of ovarian cysts
  • Smoking

What are the signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy?

How is an ectopic pregnancy diagnosed?

How is an ectopic pregnancy treated?