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What causes an ectopic pregnancy?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

An ectopic pregnancy is usually the result of an alteration in the fallopian tube which alters or hinders the fertilized ovum’s journey to the uterus. These anomalies may include damage to the lining of the fallopian tube or blockage of the fallopian tube.

Dr. Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

An ectopic pregnancy is caused by an abnormality of the fallopian tubes.  The sperm and the egg unite in the fallopian tube, and as the embryo is being formed over a 2-3 day period, the embryo traverses through the fallopian tube and implants in the uterus.  If there is scarring of the fallopian tube or abnormal motility of the fallopian tube, the embryo can implant in the fallopian tube, which is the most common cause of an ectopic pregnancy.  The word ectopic means a pregnancy anywhere outside of the uterus, but 95% of ectopic pregnancies happen in the fallopian tubes.  There are rare occasions where an ectopic pregnancy can happen in the abdomen, cervix, or the ovary. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.