Normally, a fertilized egg travels through the Fallopian tube to the uterus where it implants in the uterine lining, develops and grows into the fetus. However, in approximately 2% of cases, an ectopic pregnancy occurs. This refers to the fertilized egg developing someplace other than the uterus, in most cases, it is in the Fallopian tube, that is why this is called a tubal pregnancy. Since this area is small and doesn't have the amount of tissue to support the developing embryo, as the embryo grows it will cause the organ its in to burst, which can harm the mother. These pregnancies won't develop full term and the mother is at risk. Reasons why this can occur are many. For example, if someone has scarring in the tubes due to Pelvic Imflammatory Disease, which can be a result of syphillis or gonorrhea, causes inflammation in the tubes. The fertilized egg can't pass through the tube to the uterus and begins its development in the tube. Other reasons include, if the mother was exposed to DES before she was born, she is at higher risk for a tubal pregnancy. If a woman had prior fertility treatments or surgery in the Pelvic area, these can increase her risk of ectopic pregnancy. Smoking and endometriosis are all risk factors for the mother. Symptoms include, vaginal bleeding and sharp pain in the abdominal region.
This is often called a "tubal or ectopic pregnancy" and can be very dangerous, even life threatening. This happens when a fertilized egg plants itself in the fallopian tubes, instead of the in the uterus. The fertilized egg can cause the tube to burst or rupture which causes severe bleeding.
Many times an ectopic pregnancy is caused by damaged fallopian tubes. When the tube is damaged, the egg may have difficulty passing through and then plant itself there. Causes of an ectopic pregnancy may include PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), endometriosis, and smoking.
The most common symptoms of a woman with an ectopic pregnancy are sharp pains in the abdomen and vaginal bleeding. After it is confirmed that a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, surgery is usually performed right away.