You may not notice anything at first. However, some women with an ectopic pregnancy have the usual early signs or symptoms of pregnancy â a missed period, breast tenderness and nausea.
If you take a pregnancy test, the result will be positive. Still, an ectopic pregnancy can't continue as normal.
Signs and symptoms increase as the fertilized egg grows in the improper place.
Early warning of ectopic pregnancy
Often, the first warning sign of an ectopic pregnancy is pelvic pain. Light vaginal bleeding may also occur.
If blood leaks from the fallopian tube, you may feel increasing abdominal pain, an urge to have a bowel movement or pelvic discomfort. If heavy bleeding (hemorrhaging) occurs, you may feel shoulder pain as blood fills your pelvis and abdomen. Your specific symptoms depend on where the blood collects and which nerves are irritated.
If the fertilized egg continues to grow in the fallopian tube, it can cause the tube to rupture. Heavy bleeding inside the abdomen is likely. Symptoms of this life-threatening event include extreme lightheadedness, fainting, severe abdominal pain and shock.
When to see a doctor
Seek emergency medical help if you have any signs or symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, including:
- Severe abdominal or pelvic pain during pregnancy
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Extreme lightheadedness or fainting
- Other concerning symptoms, especially if you have risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy