Ectopic Pregnancy Definition
Ectopic pregnancy: A pregnancy that is not in the uterus. The fertilized egg settles and grows in any location other than the inner lining of the uterus. The large majority (95%) of ectopic pregnancies occur in the Fallopian tube. However, they can occur in other locations, such as the ovary, cervix, and abdominal cavity.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs in about 1 in 60 pregnancies. Most ectopic pregnancies occur in women 35 to 44 years of age.
Ectopic pregnancies are frequently due to an inability of the fertilized egg to make its way through a Fallopian tube into the uterus. Risk factors predisposing to an ectopic pregnancy include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can damage the tube's functioning or leave it partly or completely blocked;
- Surgery on a Fallopian tube;
- Surgery in the neighborhood of the Fallopian tube which can leave adhesions (bands of tissue that bind together surfaces);
- Endometriosis, a condition in which tissue like that normally lining the uterus is found outside the uterus;
- A prior ectopic pregnancy;
- A history of repeated induced abortions;
- A history of infertility problems or medications to stimulate ovulation; and
- An abnormality in the shape of the Fallopian tube, as with a congenital malformation (a birth defect).
MedTerms.com. Ectopic Pregnancy.