This is a pregnancy that has implanted in the incorrect place most commonly the fallopian tube.

It happens when a woman’s ovum (egg), when it has been fertilised by a man’s sperm, remains “stuck” in the tube instead of moving down her fallopian tube into the womb to implant there. The fallopian tubes are narrow hollow muscular tubes lined with cells that are mucus-secreting and other cells that have cilia – tiny hair like projections which beat gently to propel these secretions towards the uterus.

The egg and sperm meet and fertilisation occurs in the tube. If the tube is damaged by inflammation or infection the pregnancy can implant in the tube to form an ectopic pregnancy.

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This occurs in about 1% of UK pregnancies. This risk is greater in women with PCD as the cilia in the tubes are less effective at propelling the embryo towards the uterus.

What are the Symptoms?

Mostly women present between the 4th and 10th week of pregnancy with any of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Shoulder–tip pain
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Missed or late period
  • Pain when moving the bowels or on going to the toilet
  • Collapse