What is an ectopic pregnancy and how do you know you have one?

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that grows outside the womb, usually in a fallopian tube. It is a life threatening situation because if the pregnancy grows too large it can cause the tube burst. This must always be treated with an operation or medicines. A medical abortion does not effect a pregnancy outside the womb!
You can make sure that your pregnancy is inside the womb by having an ultrasound. If you use Mifepristone and Misoprostol to end a pregnancy and you do not do an ultrasound first, there is always a chance that you could have an undetected ectopic pregnancy. If you do not pass tissue and blood after taking the Misoprostol, you might have an ectopic pregnancy. If you have sudden severe pain in your belly or back (mostly on one side), if you feel you might faint or if you do faint, or if you feel pain in the shoulder area, you might have an ectopic pregnancy that has burst and you should go to a hospital immediately. Ectopic pregnancies are treated everywhere, even in places where abortion is severely restricted.

More scientific information:
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg does not implant and grow in the uterus as usual, but instead implants and begins to grow elsewhere, usually in the fallopian tube 25 . The fallopian tube is a tiny passage that the fertilized egg passes through as it goes from the ovary to the uterus. If the pregnancy continues, the embryo will grow and become too large for the fallopian tube, causing the fallopian tube to burst. Ectopic pregnancies cannot be carried to term, and must be removed to save the life of the woman. Treatment by a gynaecologist is then necessary to ensure the health of the woman. If not treated, there is a risk of heavy internal bleeding due to rupturing of the fallopian tube.

A medical abortion using Mifepristone-Misoprostol does not cause ectopic pregnancy, but it does not treat an ectopic pregnancy either 7 . If a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, there are no additional complications associated with her doing a medical abortion. “…There is no evidence to suggest that medical abortion treatment leads to unusual complications for women with ectopic pregnancies 34 .
If an ectopic pregnancy goes untreated the embryo could continue to develop outside the uterus even after taking Mifepristone and Misoprostol 26 . It will continue to grow, and if not removed, will cause the fallopian tube to rupture when the embryo grows too large for the space. If not treated, there is a risk of heavy internal bleeding due to rupturing of the fallopian tube. Gynaecologists treat women for this condition in all countries, even in countries where access to abortion is very restricted.

A pregnant woman who is experiencing any of the following symptoms, may have an ectopic pregnancy 25 : increasing abdominal or pelvic pain, cramping on one side of the pelvis, small amounts of unusual vaginal bleeding, breast soreness, nausea, lower back pain.

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If you live in a country where it is permitted to have abortion safe and…

What is a medical abortion?

A medical abortion uses a medicine or a combination of tablets to cause the non

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No. You can take Misoprostol on your own. Using Misoprostol is no more…

How to use misoprostol (cytotec) to cause an abortion?

You will need 12 pills of misoprostol, 200 micrograms (mcg) each. To cause an…

How can I get Misoprostol?

Instead of using Misoprostol alone it is much more effective (99%) to do a…

Which brand of misoprostol should I use and can different brand names can be used together?

Misoprostol alone has the following brand names: Cytotec (200µg Misoprostol…

Which type of pill containing Misoprostol is the most effective to cause an abortion?

All brands are effective. The most important thing is that the pills contain…

I cannot get Misoprostol. Could you please send them to me?

If you live in a country where there is no access to safe and legal abortion…

I am more than 12 weeks pregnant and can travel; where can I find clinics that can help?

Late abortions are available in the following countries: England Abortions up…

Can Misoprostol be used if you have Chlamydia?

An infection with Chlamydia is one of the main causes of infertility and must…

Are there injections that could end my pregnancy?

The only injection that can successfully end a pregnancy is methotrexate. This…

What is Methotrexate?

Methotrexate can be used to induce an abortion in combination with Misoprostol…

Do antibiotiocs have an effect on the contraceptive pill and/or Misoprostol?

Antibiotics can diminish the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill as it may…

Does Provera (a progesteron) help to induce an abortion?

No it does not. Provera does not contain a working substance to make the womb…

How do you know if you are pregnant and how long you have been pregnant for?

Most women determine that they are pregnant if they are sexually active and…

How many weeks into your pregnancy can you do a medical abortion?

You can do a medical abortion at home until the 12th week of your pregnancy.

I've been pregnant for more than 12 weeks. Can I still use Misoprostol?

Misoprostol still works after 12 weeks of pregnancy but the chance of…

I am 20 weeks pregnant; can I use Misoprostol?

Misoprostol should never be used after 20 weeks pregnancy. The fetus is able to…

What if you are not pregnant but take the medicines anyway?

Your health will not be harmed if you are not pregnant but take the medicines…

What are hCG levels during pregnancy?

hCG levels in weeks from Last Menstrual Period : 3 weeks LMP: 5 - 50 mIU/ml 4…

What if you have a RH - bloodtype?

Usually doctors advice women who have an (surgical) abortion or miscariage or…

When you should not do a medical abortion?

You should not use the medicines if: someone is forcing you to end your…

What is a contraindication and how do you know if you have one?

Contraindications are conditions or situations might keep you from being able…

Why shouldn't you be alone when you do a medical abortion and what if you do it alone anyway?

You are strongly advised to use the medicines in the presence of someone you…

Why should you be within 60 minutes of a hospital or first aid centre when you do the abortion?

It is absolutely necessary to be within one hour of help, in case you lose too…

What painkillers can you use?

NSAID's like Ibuprofen, Diclofenac and Naproxen are the most effective…

Can (homeopathic) medication that decreases menstrual pain be used with Misoprostol?

Because some of these medications might counter the contractions of the womb…

How should you use Misoprostol (cytotec)?

You will need 12 pills of misoprostol, 200 micrograms (mcg) each. To cause an…

Are there other ways to use the Misoprostol?

We strongly advise you to use Misoprostol under your tongue. This way, no…

Can you use Misoprostol if you are still breastfeeding?

It is better not to breastfeed during the first 5 hours after taking…

Is it safe to have a medical abortion if you've already had one in the past?

Women are fertile for about 40 years. Some women need more than one abortion…

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We strongly advice women to use Misoprostol under the tongue (dissolve under…

Can you eat or drink while you are taking the medicines?

You should not drink any alcohol or use drugs, as it can affect your judgment.

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After using Misoprostol you should expect bleeding and cramps. Bleeding usually…

Can you go to work while doing the abortion? For how long must you rest before returning to work?

It is best to take Misoprostol on the weekends or when you can rest for a bit.

I took the first dose of Misoprostol and started bleeding. Should I take the next doses?

Yes, you must take the next doses, despite the blood loss. Scientific research…

How much and what colour is the blood loss?

The general rule is that fresh blood is red and old blood is brown. While…

Can you see the products of the abortion (placenta, embryo, blood) and what should you do with them?

Most of the time women can see blood and tissue in their sanitary napkin or in…

What are the side effects of Misoprostol?

The medical abortion normally causes side effects such as pain and cramping, as…

I've used Misoprostol a few days ago and I'm still in a lot of pain. Is this normal?

If the treatment was successful, you should no longer have any pain, just blood…

I've used Misoprostol but the pregnancy test is still positive. What should I do?

Sometimes, pregnancy test are still positive 3 or 4 weeks after the abortion

What is a complete, successful abortion and how do you know you've had one?

A complete abortion means that the body has expelled all the products of…

How do you know if you have complications and what should you do?

If performed in the first 10 weeks, a medical abortion carries a very small…

How do you know if you have a post-abortion infection?

Infections following medical abortions are very rare. If you feel weakness

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What is a curettage/vacuum aspiration and is it necessary after medical abortion?

Vacuum aspiration (MVA)is a surgical intervention to remove the contents of the…

Can Misoprostol be detected in a blood test?

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Continuing pregnancy is a pregnancy that continues to develop even after the…

What are the chances that the fetus will be malformed if you have an ongoing pregnancy?

If you have an ongoing pregnancy after using Misoprostol, the risk of having a…

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If you do not have symptoms of a complication, it is not necessary to have an…

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Most women do not need any psychological help after an abortion. Feelings of…

What are the risks?

Many illegal abortions are unsafe and are carried out without proper…

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It is very difficult to determine whether an abortion has been successful and…

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No, having an induced abortion does not increase a woman’s chance of developing…

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Will you be able to get pregnant and have children after a medical abortion?

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When can you get pregnant again after having a medical abortion?

Although it may be several weeks after your abortion before you get your…

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About 85% of sexually active women who do not use contraceptives become…

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RU 486 (the abortion pill, Mifepristone, Mifegyne, Mifeprex, Zacafemyl)) is…

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Do I have an infection? A fever could indicate that you have an infection. If…

I've tried Misoprostol but had no or very little blood loss. Did the treatment work?

If you still do not bleed and you are positive that you were pregnant, then you…