What is an ectopic pregnancy? Ectopic pregnancy is the development of an embryo outside the uterus, or womb. Development may occur in a fallopian tube, the site through which the egg travels to the uterus in a healthy pregnancy. Other sites for ectopic pregnancies include the ovary, cervix, and within the abdomen. Ectopic pregnancies are caused by an obstruction hindering the normal movement of the egg after fertilization along the path from the fallopian tubes to the womb. Reasons for this blockage include a physical obstruction brought on by scarring from previous ectopic pregnancies or inflammation of the fallopian tubes (salpingitis) or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs. This accounts for 98% of all ectopic pregnancies. Other potential causes of ectopic pregnancy include congenital fallopian tube defects, endometriosis, pelvic scarring from previous surgeries – including caesarean section, or a ruptured appendix. Ectopic pregnancies occur in one of 40 to one of every 100 pregnancies (1.0-2.5% incidence). There is seasonal variation with increased frequency in June and December although the reasons are unclear. They can occur in women who have had tubal litigation (their fallopian tubes tied), but are more likely to occur two to three years following the procedure (Source: NIH). Rupture of an ectopic pregnancy can lead to shock, a potentially life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have serious symptoms such as bleeding, fainting, intense rectal pressure, shoulder pain, or severe lower abdominal pain during pregnancy or when pregnancy is suspected. If you suspect you may be pregnant, seek prompt medical care.