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Ectopic pregnancy: Expectant management

Togas Tulandi, MD, MHCM
Section Editors
Robert L Barbieri, MD
Courtney A Schreiber, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Sandy J Falk, MD, FACOG


An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy outside of the uterine cavity. The majority of ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube (84 percent) [1], but other possible sites include cervical, interstitial (also referred to as cornual; a pregnancy located in the proximal segment of the fallopian tube that is embedded within the muscular wall of the uterus), hysterotomy scar, intramural, ovarian, or abdominal. In addition, in rare cases, a multiple gestation may be heterotopic (include both a uterine and extrauterine pregnancy).

Ectopic pregnancy is a potentially life-threatening condition, usually requiring expeditious surgical or medical treatment to reduce the risk of rupture of the fallopian tube or another structure and catastrophic hemorrhage. However, in a small proportion of cases in which the risk of tubal rupture is minimal, expectant management may be offered [2]. Women who are candidates for expectant management of ectopic pregnancy require informed consent about the risks of this strategy and close observation until the pregnancy has resolved.

Expectant management of ectopic pregnancy will be reviewed here. Related topics regarding ectopic pregnancy are discussed in detail separately, including:

Epidemiology, risk factors, and pathology (see "Ectopic pregnancy: Epidemiology, risk factors, and anatomic sites")

Clinical manifestations and diagnosis (see "Ectopic pregnancy: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis")

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 07, 2017.
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