Diagnosing ectopic pregnancy

It can be difficult to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy from the symptoms alone, as they can be similar to other conditions.

Your GP may examine you and offer a pregnancy test. If you have the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy and a positive pregnancy test, you may be referred to an early pregnancy assessment service for further testing.

Some of the tests you may have are outlined below.

Vaginal ultrasound

An ectopic pregnancy is usually diagnosed by carrying out a transvaginal Ultrasound scan .

This involves inserting a small probeinto your vagina. The probe is so small that it is easy to insert and you won't need a local anaesthetic. The probe emits sound waves that bounce back to create a close-up image of your reproductive system on a monitor.

This will often show whether a fertilised egg has become implanted in one of your fallopian tubes, although occasionally it may be very difficult to spot.

Blood tests

Blood tests to measure the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) may also be carried out twice,48 hours apart,to see how the level changes over time.

This can be auseful way of identifying ectopic pregnancies that aren't found during an ultrasound scan, as the level of hCG tends to be lower and rise more slowly over time than in a normal pregnancy.

The results of thetest can also be useful in determining the best treatment for an ectopic pregnancy.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 24 Nov 2016