What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
Ectopic is Latin for “in the wrong place”.
In an ectopic pregnancy, a fertilized egg has implanted in the wrong place
and the fertilized egg settles in the fallopian tubes more than 95% of the
time. This is why ectopic pregnancies are commonly called “tubal
pregnancies”. The fertilized egg can also implant in the ovary,
abdomen, cervix or the cornua of the uterus. None of these areas have
as much space or nurturing tissue as the uterus for a pregnancy to develop.
As the fetus grows, it will eventually rupture the space that contains it.
This can cause severe bleeding and endanger the mother’s life and future
fertility. An ectopic pregnancy
cannot develop into a live birth.
What are the different types of
The most common is the “tubal pregnancy”. The
fallopian tubes (uterine tubes, salpinx uteria, oviducts) are bilateral
ducts, about 10 cm long, that lie in the upper border of the broad
ligament and connect the uterine cavity to the peritoneal cavity near the
ovaries. There are four parts of the fallopian tube where a
fertilized egg can implant.
Ampulla: the wide portion of the fallopian tube
Isthmic: the portion of the fallopian tube that is
closest to the uterus
Fimbrial/Infundibulum: the portion of the
fallopian tube that is closest to the ovary
Interstitial/Cornual/Intramural: the uterine
portion of the tube that pierces the uterine wall, and through the
uterine ostium, opens into the endometrial cavity
Ovarian Pregnancy: A pregnancy confined to the ovary
Intraligamentous Pregnancy, (Broad Ligament Pregnancy)
Heterotopic Pregnancy: The simultaneous presence of
a uterine and an ectopic pregnancy.
Go To Ectopic Pregnancy Placement Diagram