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Symptoms of Ectopic (Tubal) Pregnancy

Q: Do you get the same symptoms, like nausea and swollen breasts, when you have a tubular pregnancy? Can you get pregnant after having a tubal ligation?


Dr. Donnica: If you have had a tubal ligation and you think you are pregnant, call your doctor ASAP! You must be seen TODAY.

Pregnancy after tubal ligation (having your tubes tied) is rare, but when it happens it is usually a "tubular" or "ectopic" pregnancy. That means it's not implanted in the uterus (womb) and it is not a viable pregnancy. It must be removed as early as possible (either with a medication called methotrexate or by laparascopic surgery) in order to prevent serious and life-threatening risks to the mother.

Yes, you can have all the symptoms of a normal pregnancy with an ectopic pregnancy, although you may not have any symptoms at all. Once an ectopic pregnancy grows to a certain size and side, women may have moderate to severe pain on that side along with dizziness, light-headedness, headaches, vomiting and other symptoms. Many times this is confused with appendicitis if the pain is on the lower right side.

Having had an ectopic pregnancy in the past greatly increases a woman's risk for another ectopic pregnancy.

If your doctor suspects you might have an ectopic pregnancy, s/he will most likely order a blood pregnancy test. If that test is negative, s/he will pursue other explanations for your symptoms. If that test is positive, s/he may order a pelvic ultrasound to see if the location of the pregnancy can be identified. If it is too early to tell if the pregnancy is inside or outside the uterus, the doctor may recommend frequent repeat blood pregnancy tests to monitor your HCG levels (a hormone produced by the growing pregnancy) to see if the fetus is growing normally. By 6 weeks gestation, an ultrasound should be able to confirm the location of the pregnancy.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Best regards,
Donnica Moore MD
President, DrDonnica.com

Created: 6/13/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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