Ectopic pregnancy is a serious and potentially life threatening condition where the embryo, instead of attaching itself to the wall of the uterus, implants itself in the fallopian tube, the cervix or even the abdomen. Special care and strict medical supervision is needed for women with ectopic pregnancies since once the moment of rupture hits them, the pain is so intense that only a three to four hour window is provided for mother and child.
- Early signs of ectopic pregnancies are hard to determine by the woman herself. They can sometime be detected through sonograms and other such medical procedures. Usually, the first signs of a pregnancy, when it is ectopic, occur around 7 or 8 weeks after the woman has missed her period. This is considerably later than normal pregnancy signs. Sometimes the woman may not even know she is pregnant before the rupture occurs.
- Pain in the lower abdomen and pain while urinating are some of the signs of a possible ectopic pregnancy. Mild discomfort can also be experienced. However, since these are also signs and symptoms experienced in a normal pregnancy, determining whether a pregnancy is ectopic, without medical equipment, is especially difficult.
- Mild bleeding also occurs in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. This is because such pregnancies have a very low success rate and hormonal imbalances are quite common. However, this bleeding in the early stages around 5 weeks can easily be confused with the implantation bleeding of normal pregnancies.
- Internal and external bleeding are signs of an ectopic pregnancy in a later stage. Difficulty or pain experienced during bowel movement must also be considered to be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy though it is difficult to expect a woman to identify these rather vague symptoms correctly. This is what makes ectopic pregnancies difficult to diagnose until it is too late.