An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb (uterus). It is life-threatening to the mother.
Tubal pregnancy; Cervical pregnancy; Tubal ligation - ectopic pregnancy
In most pregnancies, the fertilized egg travels through the fallopian tube to the womb (uterus). If the movement of the egg is blocked or slowed through the tubes, it can lead to an ectopic pregnancy. Things that may cause this problem include:
- Birth defect in the fallopian tubes
- Scarring after a ruptured appendix
- Having had an ectopic pregnancy in the past
- Scarring from past infections or surgery of the female organs
The following also increase risk of an ectopic pregnancy:
- Age over 35
- Getting pregnant while having an intrauterine device (IUD)
- Having your tubes tied. This is more likely 2 or more years after the procedure
- Having had surgery to untie tubes to become pregnant
- Having had many sexual partners
- Some infertility treatments
Sometimes, the cause is unknown. Hormones may play a role.
The most common site for an ectopic pregnancy is within 1 of the 2 fallopian tubes. In rare cases, ectopic pregnancies can occur in the ovary, abdomen, or cervix.
An ectopic pregnancy can occur even if you use birth control.