Types of Ectopic Pregnancy

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 07, 2011
Quick Bites

  • Pregnancy that implants outside the womb is an ectopic pregnancy.
  • There are five types of Ectopic Pregnancies.
  • The occurence of ectopic pregnancy is one in four hundred.
  • Women experience symptoms about two weeks after a missed period.

Commonly, during a pregnancy the egg travels through the fallopian tube to the womb, but when something occurs in reverse it can cause trouble. Anything that blocks or even slows down the movement of this egg through these tubes can lead to what we call ectopic pregnancy.


ectopic pregnancy types

Any pregnancy that implants outside the womb is an ectopic pregnancy or ectopic gestation. Types of ectopic pregnancy depend on where the implantation has taken place. The foetus can implant itself anywhere in the fallopian tube, which is most common, in the peritoneal cavity or in the cervical canal.

The occurrence of ectopic pregnancy is about one in 400 pregnancies. You can track whether you have an ectopic pregnancy or no at anytime between five weeks and 10 weeks of your pregnancy. It has been found that most women experience symptoms about two weeks after they happen to miss a period.



  • Tubal pregnancy:
    In such a pregnancy, the egg implants itself in the lining or the mucus membrane of the tube on its way to the womb. The numerous folds in the tube do not allow it to migrate towards the uterus. It usually leads to rupture of the tube as the thin wall of the tube cannot stretch to accommodate the growing foetus.
  • Ovarian pregnancy: In this very rare condition, the egg cell is not guided into the tube. Fertilisation occurs in the peritoneal cavity and implantation takes place in the ovary, inside the cavity of corpus luteum. As a result, severe internal bleeding follows.
  • Intra-abdominal Pregnancy: Here again, the egg cell gets fertilised in the peritoneal cavity and then implants itself anywhere in the peritoneal cavity. These pregnancies can progress quite far and may take months to get diagnosed. The discovery is generally made in the 16-20 week gestation period. The placenta sits on the intra-abdominal organs (or the peritoneum) and gets a good vascular supply. There are reports of near viability in a few rare cases. Such a foetus is delivered by lapratomy.
  • Cervical pregnancy: In this type of ectopic pregnancy, the egg cell implants itself in the cervical canal and starts developing there, post fertilisation. Since the cervix cannot accommodate a pregnancy, eventually bleeding occurs and the pregnancy has to be terminated surgically.
  • Heterotopic pregnancy: In certain sporadic cases, there may be two fertilised eggs, one inside the uterus and the other, outside.  Due to the pain accompanying an ectopic pregnancy, it is discovered earlier than the intrauterine pregnancy. The intrauterine pregnancy can still be viable after the removal of the ectopic pregnancy and this can be confirmed by an ultrasound.

Clinically, types of ectopic pregnancy can be as under:

1. Acute
2. Sub-acute
3. Advanced pregnancy

The first two are main clinical forms of tubal pregnancy whereas the third one is abdominal pregnancy.

The cases of ectopic pregnancy are higher in women with a history of tubal disease, tubal surgery, previous ectopic pregnancy, and assisted reproduction. A high risk of maternal mortality is also associated with ectopic pregnancy. The removal of placenta from the site of attachment can lead to heavy and uncontrolled bleeding. The most common surgical treatments for an ectopic pregnancy that has not ruptured are mini-laparotomy and laparoscopy. While the types of ectopic pregnancy are different, it must be remembered that most ectopic pregnancies cannot be carried to term. The developing cells have to be removed to save the mother’s life.

You must seek appropriate help for your ectopic pregnancy problem at the earliest.


Read more articles on Problems during Pregnancy


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