The treatment for ectopic pregnancy depends on how severe your symptoms are, how advanced your pregnancy is and whether or not your fallopian tube has ruptured.
Some ectopic pregnancies don't need to be treated because the pregnancy ends by itself. If you don't have any symptoms, or your symptoms are only mild, you may be given the option of not having any treatment. Instead, your doctor will want to monitor you closely using blood tests and further ultrasound scans.
If it's confirmed that the ectopic pregnancy is in one of your fallopian tubes and it's still early on in the pregnancy, your doctor may recommend that you have an injection of a medicine called methotrexate. This disrupts the pregnancy and causes it to end. You may need to have more than one dose. However, the medicine isn't always effective at preventing your fallopian tube from rupturing. If it does, you will need to have surgery.
You may need surgery to remove your ectopic pregnancy if:
- medical treatment hasn't worked
- your pregnancy is quite advanced or located outside your fallopian tubes
- your fallopian tube has ruptured and you have a severe internal bleed
You may have keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) or open surgery (laparotomy) for ectopic pregnancy. However, open surgery is more likely if your fallopian tube has ruptured. Depending on where your pregnancy is and how advanced it is, your surgeon may remove the pregnancy by using a device to suck (aspirate) it out of the fallopian tube, or by removing part or all of the fallopian tube.
You may need a blood transfusion if you have a severe internal bleed or open surgery.
Availability and use of different treatments may vary from country to country. Ask your doctor for advice on your treatment options.
Prevention of ectopic pregnancy
It isn't possible to prevent an ectopic pregnancy as it can affect any woman. However, you can reduce your risk of having an ectopic pregnancy if you take measures to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections, which can damage your fallopian tubes, and quit smoking.
It is normal to experience emotional reactions, including feelings of sadness and a sense of loss after having an ectopic pregnancy and it's important that you try to talk to someone close about these feelings.