What Are the Types of Pregnancy?

Reviewed on 5/4/2022
Pregnant woman getting an abdominal ultrasound
Types of pregnancy include intrauterine pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, tubal pregnancy, intra-abdominal pregnancy, singlet pregnancy, multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.), lupus pregnancy, high-risk pregnancy, and molar pregnancy.

There are many different types of pregnancies. There are a number of reasons for different types of pregnancies, including physical differences in a mother’s reproductive system, multiple eggs being released, multiple sperm fertilizing the same egg, underlying health conditions of the mother, and other reasons.

9 Types of Pregnancy

The nine types of pregnancy include: 

  • Intrauterine pregnancy
    • A typical pregnancy, when the fetus(es) implant inside the uterus, and the placenta attaches to the uterine muscle inside the uterus
  • Ectopic pregnancy 
    • This type of pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants in a location other than the fallopian tube or uterus, such as such as the neck of the uterus or the abdomen
    • This type pregnancy is not viable and usually the body spontaneously aborts the fetus (miscarriage)
    • This type can rupture and be life-threatening and may require surgery to fix
  • Tubal pregnancy 
    • This is a type of ectopic pregnancy
    • This type of pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus 
    • This type pregnancy is not viable and must be terminated if a miscarriage does not occur naturally on its own
  • Intra-abdominal pregnancy
    • These types of pregnancies tend to occur following a previous C-section
    • The C-section scar can weaken and tear, and the fetus may slip into the abdominal cavity
    • Whether or not the pregnancy is viable depends on the gestational age of the fetus when the tear occurs
  • Singlet pregnancy
    • This is a pregnancy in which one egg meets one sperm and one fetus develops
  • Multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.)
    • This may occur when multiple eggs are fertilized at the same time, or when two sperm enter one egg or when one egg is fertilized by one sperm that divides into two zygotes
    • Fraternal twins are the result of more than one egg being fertilized, or one egg being fertilized by two sperm
    • Identical twins are the result of one egg splitting into multiple zygotes
    • Multiples may be more likely when fertility treatments are used
  • Lupus pregnancy
    • This is a pregnancy carried by a woman with the autoimmune disease lupus, in which blood clotting is a complication 
  • High-risk pregnancy
    • Pregnancies with an increased risk of complications are considered high-risk
    • This includes women: 
      • Over the age of 35
      • With diabetes 
      • With other health conditions that affect pregnancy
      • Pregnancy with multiples 
      • Who need to take medications to control medical conditions that could affect the fetus
      • With a history of previous pregnancy complications
  • Molar pregnancy
    • A complete molar pregnancy occurs as a result of the placenta forming in the uterus without a fetus to support
    • A partial molar pregnancy occurs when two sperm fertilize one egg, but two fetuses do not develop
    • The placenta is abnormal and the fetus has too many chromosomes which always results in a spontaneous abortion as the fetus cannot develop safely

What Symptoms Are Caused by Other Types of Pregnancy?

These other types of pregnancy may involve symptoms that are not typical pregnancy symptoms others experience. These symptoms of other pregnancy types are explained below.

Symptoms of an intrauterine pregnancy that is a singlet pregnancy or multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.) are generally typical pregnancies and are characterized by early pregnancy symptoms such as: 

Symptoms of an intra-abdominal pregnancy are usually the same as pregnant women experience in general with abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and feeling unwell (malaise) being most common.

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy and a tubal pregnancy (a type of ectopic pregnancy) may include: 

  • Vaginal bleeding
    • Different than a regular period: often starts and stops, and may be watery and dark brown in color
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shoulder tip pain: pain felt where the shoulder ends and the arm begins
  • Discomfort when urinating or during bowel movements
  • Rupture (Fallopian tube splits open)

Symptoms of lupus pregnancy can be the same as a normal pregnancy, but there is a higher rate of complications, such as: 

Symptoms of molar pregnancy may include: 

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Reviewed on 5/4/2022
Image Source: iStock Images