Signs of Ectopic Pregnancy: First Signs At 3 Weeks, 4 weeks & 5 Weeks
Before I introduce you with signs of ectopic pregnancy or even before you come to know,what’s ectopic pregnancy? You must read the paragraph below.
At first thought of pregnancy, you may become happy and rejoiced. You may be excited about becoming a parent or you may be thinking about working hard, as a big responsibility will soon be coming on your shoulders.
If you are planning to have a baby boy, a cute little baby girl or even twins for that matter then you have taken a great decision of your life.
You should move ahead without fear to get pregnant. But at the same time we can’t deny few complications which comes free of cost along with pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy is one of them and the signs of ectopic pregnancy in early stage of pregnancy are almost similar to that of normal pregnancy and hence it is hard to differentiate between a normal and an ectopic pregnancy in the initial weeks after you get pregnant.
In brief, you must be really enthusiastic to begin with the preparations of having a baby!
But, better you notice the pregnancy and the kind. The symptoms may not be alarming in the beginning but, you may be prone to an ectopic pregnancy. Hence, you need to notice the signs of ectopic pregnancy.
what’s an ectopic pregnancy & Why do Signs of Ectopic Pregnancy Occurs?
Wondering about what is an ectopic pregnancy?
In a common pregnancy, after conception and fertilization, the zygote moves through the fallopian tube and enters the uterus. You must understand the basic concept that the signs of ectopic pregnancy only appears if there exists an ectopic fetus. The symptoms of ectopic pregnancy varies with the location of presence of ectopic pregancy. The uterus is the perfect site where the zygote will be getting implanted. The uterus is prepared and hence the link is created for the attachment.
This may not be the case in ectopic pregnancy. The term “ectopic” literally refers to the abnormal placement of something. In other words, it means that the object is not in the position where it is supposed to be. Or simply it reflects a kind of pregnancy outside the uterus. In the picture below, you can see the flow chart of fertilization of egg by a sperm. With each step there occurs some hormonal and physical changes inside the body of a women and give rise to the signs of ectopic pregnancy in a case where the fetus attaches itself outside the uterus and gives birth to tubal pregnancy and thus the signs of ectopic pregnancy appears.
The “object” in the pregnancy is the fertilised egg. Hence, if the egg is placed other than the suitable position, i.e., the uterus, then the pregnancy is called ectopic pregnancy. Before you read about the signs of ectopic pregnancy, you should know about the location where it takes place. Ectopic pregnancy is also known as extrauterine pregnancy as it takes place outside the uterus.
The location of implantation can be:
- Fallopian tube (in majority of the cases)
- Cervix (the neck of the uterus)
- The cornua or the horn
It is the beginning of the “complicated” pregnancy time period. So, better be aware and take steps before hand. One more thing you need to keep in mind is the difference between ectopic and tubal pregnancy.
Signs of ectopic pregnancy may vary depending upon the place of occurrence of an ectopic pregnancy. All tubal pregnancies are ectopic pregnancies but all ectopic pregnancies may not be tubal. Normally people thing that the signs of ectopic pregnancy are not different than the signs and symptoms of tubal pregnancy but the fact is that they may very depending upon the location of the pregnancy. When an ectopic pregnancy appears inside a fallopian tube then in that case it is known as the tubal pregnancy or the fallopian tube pregnancy.
What are the signs of ectopic pregnancy?
The pregnancy in the initial time period, that is, in the initial weeks is same as that of normal pregnancy. The following signs of ectopic pregnancy symptom may get noticed like common symptoms of normal pregnancy:
- Morning sickness
- Missed period
- Food cravings
- High sensitivity to odours
- Vaginal discharge
- Abdominal cramps
- Breast tenderness
- Nausea or Occasional vomiting
All these are the common signs. You may have an ectopic pregnancy, which may go undetected in the initial time period. But, gradually, the signs of ectopic pregnancy become stronger day by day. Keep an eye on these signs and symptoms of ectopic pregnancy! If you find one in any case, consult a doctor.
- Light vaginal bleeding
- Heavy nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain.
- Abdominal cramps with immense pain!
- Weakness and shivering.
- Pain in the neck, followed by the shoulders.
- The genital region may also feel some pain and physical tensionAnd, if the ectopic pregnancy is a tubal one, then the fallopian tube may get ruptured. Rupturing leads to heavy bleeding and pain.
Watch out for these signs of ectopic pregnancy and stay alert.
First signs of ectopic pregnancy
You may feel that you are normally pregnant, but the results may turn out to be wrong. However, ectopic pregnancies occur of about 1 in every 100 pregnant women. They are rare, but they exist. And their existence is scary for those who experience.
The first sign of ectopic pregnancy is the immense pain. The pain begins from one corner and eventually distributes to the pelvic region. The pain grows more and more, and the endurance level goes down. You may quickly need to get a checkup done. This is because such a pain cannot be ignored.
What Causes of Ectopic pregnancy Becomes the Reason for Signs of Ectopic Pregnancy.
The damaged fallopian tube is the most common cause of ectopic pregnancy. Generally, an egg which has been fertilized is stuck in that particular area of fallopian tube which is damaged. This egg then starts growing there only and becomes a prominent cause of ectopic pregnancy.
In many cases signs of ectopic pregnancy occurs but the cause of ectopic pregnancy remains unknown. But, there are certain factors which are responsible for increasing the chances of ectopic pregnancy, such as:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease which is generally caused by Chlamydia
- Previous history ectopic pregnancy/ pregnancies
How Different are Signs of ectopic pregnancy at 3 Weeks, 4 Weeks & 5 Weeks
The early signs of ectopic pregnancy are same as that of normal pregnancy. That’s why you may get confused while detecting. The ignorance continues to prevail until you feel the pain growing in your abdomen. And then a sudden vaginal discharge accompanied by bleeding! Signs of ectopic pregnancy varies with time. In the initial stage, the signs are similar to that of a normal pregnancy but in later stage, they can be differentiated with proper knowledge of these symptoms of tubal pregnancy. For the better understanding of signs of ectopic pregnancy at various stages, they have been elaborated in detail as they appear during 3 weeks , 4 week and maily during or after 5 weeks of ectopic pregnancy.
Signs of ectopic pregnancy at 3 weeks
The pain we have talked about in our previous topic is generally experienced in the first trimester. The pain may arise and attain peek level in the third and the fourth week. The vaginal bleeding can be light during this time. The distension may follow all along your spine to the shoulder region. You may feel as if you are having a normal shoulder pain, but it may be sign of your ectopic pregnancy.
That’s why we say, stay alert. But if you are still thinking of getting pregnant then you need not to fear about ectopic pregnancy. Because it is a matter of concern only if its symptoms occurs.
So, instead you should focus on,” How to get pregnant” if you are seriously planning a baby in near future and please stop getting worried about the signs of ectopic pregnancy even before getting pregnant.
Signs of ectopic pregnancy at 4 weeks
During or after 4 weeks, the signs which were lighter and felt similar to that of a natural and normal pregnancy becomes more clear and prominent. If you are aware of the facts and have even a little understanding of signs of ectopic pregnancy at 4 weeks than you can clearly figure out the case of tubal pregnancy without a second thought. The pain in the pelvic region increases and the cramping becomes more and more stronger. Sometimes, if you are so lucky then your ectopic pregnancy may come to an end naturally by miscarriage or in few cases it is even been absorbed by the body
Signs of ectopic pregnancy at 5 weeks
An ectopic pregnancy is dominantly a tubal one. This may arise if you have a damaged fallopian tube due to some accident or followed surgery. The damaged fallopian tube deters the fertilised egg to pass and enter the uterus. Hence, the egg gets implanted in the fallopian tube itself.
The fallopian tube is unable to provide the favourable conditions to the growing baby. As a result, the woman experience severe complications in the fifth week. The baby is growing in size, and the fallopian tube being slender and small, is unable to support the growth. In such a case, the fallopian tube ruptures and heavy bleeding takes place. These signs of ectopic pregnancy must not go undetected.
The fetus is in no way able to develop. Therefore, the pregnancy fails to take place. The heavy bleeding is followed by pain! A body organ, the fallopian tube has been ruptured. Severe pain is obvious! Call the ambulance and rush to the hospital.
Further, by going to this page you can read about the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy in detail.
What are the consequences of Signs of ectopic pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy can in no way give rise to the birth of the child. The fetus cannot develop!
The uterus is the best and eligible region for the implantation. Like every other organ, it has its own function. The uterus walls provide nutrition and support the fetal growth. How can a fetus grow on any other organ? It won’t be able to get proper nourishment. Even if it seeks nourishment through other methods, it will grow in size.
Neither the fallopian tube, nor the ovary is capable to hold the growing fetus. You must keep an eye on the signs of ectopic pregnancy as discussed above as the consequences of ectopic pregnancy may be severe in many cases.
At the end, all the efforts go in vain! There is not successful child birth. Ectopic pregnancies are a curse to womanhood.
If you have an ectopic pregnancy in the first place, then you are likely to get another in the second time also.
The ectopic pregnancy has detrimental effects on the woman’s health.
What Should You do in Case Signs of Ectopic Pregnancy Appears?
Ectopic pregnancies are hazardous. The only solution is the surgery. The early detection of an ectopic pregnancy is necessary, and then only the operation could be done at the correct time.
But the success of surgery also depends on the time of detection of the signs of ectopic pregnancy. Early detection means ease in surgery and vice-versa. The surgery of ectopic pregnancy may result in the removal of the fallopian tube if the pregnancy is a tubal one.
Either you are pregnant or if thinking of getting pregnant then you should definitely read our article on Pregnancy week by week which will enhance your knowledge about symptoms you experience from first to 36 week.
Stay alert about the symptoms and get diagnosed at the correct time. Do not wait for the last signs of ectopic pregnancy!
Signs of ectopic pregnancy: Frequently Asked Question and Asnswers.
How common is an ectopic pregnancy & the signs of Ectopic Pregnancy?
Answer: As discussed above as the most common cause of ectopic pregnancy is the damaged fallopian tubes. Hence the fallopian tubes becomes the common site for the occurrence of an ectopic pregnancy. There are 3 main signs of ectopic pregnancy which are seen in only 50% of women. But, as far as ectopic pregnancy is concerned, it occurs in only 1% to 2% of all the pregnancy cases around the globe.
How long can a baby grow in fallopian tube when Signs of Ectopic Pregnancy Occurs?
Answer: Normally after fertilization an egg stays in fallopian tube for three to four days and then it moves towards the uterus. Then, it attaches itself to the lining of the uterus and starts growing till the time of baby’s birth. But in case of ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches itself either in a damaged fallopian tube or somewhere else instead of uterus lining and starts growing there only. Due to this abnormal growth signs and signs of ectopic pregnancy starts appearing.
How does an ectopic pregnancy feel like? Do signs of ectopic pregnancy include pain?
Answer: The feeling of pain is similar to that of periods (menstrual cycle) or you may feel like miscarriage with bleeding during pregnancy. Cramping may be similar to cramping in early pregnancy. Vaginal bleeding during ectopic pregnancy may be unusual and unlike normal periods. Missed period, breast tenderness and heavy vaginal bleeding can be taken into account of signs of ectopic pregnancy.
When Signs of ectopic pregnancy helps detecting an ectopic Pregnancy?
Answer: Normally it takes around 6 weeks after the previous menstrual cycle to detect a pregnancy in the uterus. So, if the pregnancy test is conducted after 6 weeks and there is no embryo or fetus in the uterus but hCG levels are continuously rising then it can be considered as one of the confirm signs of ectopic pregnancy. In such cases it should be further clarify immediately by conducting Pelvic ultrasound, or pregnancy hormone test. Generally, ectopic pregnancy is detected between 5th to 14th week of pregnancy.
Are Signs of ectopic pregnancy dangerous?
Answer: If the signs of ectopic pregnancy are known well in time then it can be taken care of and treated well in time but it can be very dangerous if not treated or treatment is delayed too much as further growth of embryo in fallopian tube may stretch and break the fallopian tube. Such cases are known as ruptured ectopic pregnancy which can lead to internal bleeding and severe infection and in some cases, it may lead to death also.
Is an ectopic pregnancy hereditary or the signs of ectopic pregnancy occurs due to inheritance?
Answer: No, it is not hereditary which simply means that even if your immediate family members have suffered from ectopic pregnancy then also you are not at risk of suffering from it. You are equally safe as others.
How long do the signs of ectopic pregnancy last ?
Answer: The structure which contains the fetus typically ruptures after around six to sixteen weeks. When tubal pregnancy ruptures, it may have severe consequences and in some cases, it can be life threatening. In many cases, signs of ectopic pregnancy just disappears because it comes to and end naturally either by miscarriage or ends up with a heavy bleeding along with the menstrual cycle. It few cases it can be absorbed back by the reproductive system and thus the symptoms and signs of ectopic pregnancy may disappears naturally between four to six weeks.
How do you treat the signs of ectopic pregnancy?
Answer: At any stage of ectopic pregnancy, surgical removal of fallopian tube section or/and the ectopic growth can be considered as the fastest method among ectopic pregnancy treatments. In case of signs of ectopic pregnancy like internal bleeding, surgery may become the last options as treatment which can be done by either small incision or using laparoscopy.
Can you prevent the signs of ectopic pregnancy or an ecotopic pregnancy?
Answer: Normally you can’t prevent the signs of ectopic pregnancy if ectopic pregnancy occurs but the risk factors can be controlled by limiting the number of sexual partners and using condoms during sex as it helps to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and thus the risk of infected by pelvic inflammatory disease decreases. So, safe sex is the only prevention of ectopic pregnancy. If the signs of ectopic pregnancy appears at any stage of pregnancy, you should not hesitate to visit a doctor immediately.
Can you have an abortion with ectopic pregnancy?
Answer: You should immediately take necessary action after any of the signs of ectopic pregnancy is visible. Because, if it is not treated in time then there is a risk of internal bleeding. A medical abortion if done by using Mifepristone-Misoprostol does not causes ectopic pregnancy.
Can you give birth if you have an ectopic pregnancy or can you continue pregnancy even after the signs of ectopic pregnancy?
Answer: You can’t give birth to the ectopic fetus as ultimately you have to remove the ectopic embryo so developed. But after the successful treatment of ectopic pregnancy in 60% of cases a woman can get pregnant again and give birth to a normal child. But getting pregnant after the treatment of tubal pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy is risky and difficult due to damaged blocked or scarred fallopian tubes. Recently one or two odd cases have come into notice where mothers have risked their lives and safely gave birth to their ectopic baby even afte the dangerous signs of ectopic pregnancy were prominent and even doctors said no to them.
Can an ectopic pregnancy be detected by a pregnancy test or with the help of signs of ectopic pregnancy ?
Answer: Although signs of ectopic pregnancy can be differentiated with proper knowledge about them. But as far as pregnancy tests are concerned, Level of hCG can be detected by conducting a pregnancy test within or even before 10 days of missing a period or within one week of conception. But in case of negative result it doesn’t mean the absence of pregnancy or even ectopic pregnancy. But to rule out the presence of ectopic pregnancy, doctors generally conduct quantitative hCG test one more time to measure the level of hCG in the blood of the mother and even they consider the signs of ectopic pregnancy of the mother. These consecutive blood tests help a doctor to differentiate between normal pregnancy and an ectopic pregnancy as the level of hCG in blood is generally lower in case of ectopic pregnancy than in case of a normal pregnancy. And, the rate of rise of hCG is also slower in case of ectopic pregnancy than that of normal one.
Can you save the baby in an ectopic pregnancy?
Answer: It is really a sad state of affairs that till date there is no medical technology available which can implant or shift an ectopic pregnancy from fallopian tubes to the uterus. In case of ectopic pregnancy or so called tubal pregnancy, unfortunately you can’t save the baby. The risk factor in this case is very very high and life threatening for the mother who is carrying the pregnancy and even the signs of ectopic pregnancy were prominent. Recently few cases has come into notice where ectopic mothers denied to terminate it even after doctors told them about the severe consequences and ruptured ectopic pregnancy. Till date there have been around four to five cases around the globe where mothers gave birth to their ectopic babies. You can read the story of such a brave mother who risked her everything to have her ectopic baby. Here is the story of Paula Cawte and her ectopic baby birth.
What is molar pregnancy & how signs of ectopic pregnancy can be differed from molar pregnancy?
Answer: When a tissue which normally grows as a fetus if abnormally grows in the uterus then it is known as a molar pregnancy. Even though this is not an embryo, it triggers the pregnancy symptoms. Generally, the signs of ectopic pregnancy are slightly different then a normal and molar pregnancy but then also you can’t normally differentiate without conducting various pregnancy tests.
Does signs of ectopic pregnancy includes Vaginal Bleeding ?
Yes, vaginal bleeding can be considered as one of the most prominent signs of ectopic pregnancy. But, it is not always the case that vaginal bleeding only occurs during ectopic conditons as it is also normal during a regular menstrual cycle or sometimes appears due to hormonal changes and few organic problems inside the reproductive system of a women.
The difference between normal vaginal bleeding and in case of ectopic pregnancy can be figured out by looking toward the amount of blood and the abdominal pain attached to it. Vaginal bleeding and severe abdominal pain comes out together as the strong signs of ectopic pregnancy.