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Ectopic Pregnancy

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Illustration copyright 2000 by Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.nucleusinc.com

In a small number of pregnancies, the fertilized egg attaches to an area outside of the uterus, rather than in the uterus. This is called an ectopic pregnancy or extrauterine pregnancy.

Nearly all ectopic pregnancies develop in a fallopian tube. These are often called tubal pregnancies. If left untreated, a tubal ectopic pregnancy can cause fallopian tube damage and cause heavy bleeding that could be deadly. So unless the pregnancy is miscarrying on its own, medicine or surgery is used to stop the pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy can also occur in an ovary, the cervix, or the abdomen. This is rare.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of April 26, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 26, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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