An ectopic pregnancy is an abnormal pregnancy that occurs outside the mother’s uterus, ultimately resulting in the fetus’s inability to survive, often failing to develop at all. These pregnancies most commonly occur with the fallopian tubes, but have been known, in rare cases, to occur in the ovary, stomach area, or cervix.
Otherwise known as tubal pregnancies, these are often caused by blockage or slow egg movement through the fallopian tubes, often due to hormonal imbalances. But some of these pregnancies can be caused by birth defects of the fallopian tubes, complications of a ruptured appendix, endometriosis, or scarring caused by previous pelvic surgery.
Ectopic pregnancies occur in 1%-2.5% of all pregnancies, with higher risk having been observed in women over 35, women with multiple sexual partners, and pregnancies resulting from in vitro fertilization.