Ectopic pregnancy is when a pregnancy is located outside of the womb. This happens in around 1-2% of pregnancies and the most common site for the pregnancy is within the fallopian tube. Pregnancies growing in the tube may rupture, causing bleeding within the abdomen. Usually keyhole surgery is required to remove the pregnancy and most often the damaged tube as well. Other pregnancy sites are very rare and include the neck of the womb (cervix), a Caesarean scar and the ovary.
Most ectopic pregnancies are diagnosed on ultrasound at around 6-7 weeks of pregnancy. Occasionally the pregnancy cannot be seen and blood tests will be required to monitor the pregnancy and decide on treatment.
Ultrasound in early pregnancy is safe for you and your baby and is useful in order to diagnose miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. If the pregnancy is in the womb, regular ultrasound in early pregnancy can be reassuring to those women who have suffered miscarriages or previous problems or in couples who have had fertility problems or treatment.
Ultrasound may be performed transvaginally (internally) or through the abdomen. In early pregnancy, transvaginal scans are required as the pregnancy is very small and not easily visible through the abdomen.
Transvaginal ultrasound usually does not cause any discomfort unless there is a problem such as an ectopic pregnancy or ovarian cyst.
Ultrasound in early pregnancy is used to screen for abnormalities including Down Syndrome by taking measurements of the tissue behind the baby's neck (Nuchal Translucency).
The Holly Private Hospital
Clinics Thursdays 9.00-12.00
Tel: 0208 936 1201
BMI London Independent Hospital
Clinics Thursdays 1-4pm
Tel: 0207 780 2400
Surgery is also performed at Spire Roding Hospital, Redbridge IG4 5PZ 02087097878