Topic Overview

Some early
ectopic pregnancies are watched closely to see whether
the embryo will become reabsorbed by the body. (This is also called expectant

If an ectopic pregnancy ends on its own, a woman
will not need medicine or surgical treatment. But an ectopic pregnancy that
does not end on its own can cause heavy bleeding that could be deadly. This is
why you have frequent checkups during expectant management.

To be
a good candidate for expectant management, you must:

  • Have no symptoms, such as abdominal pain or
    vaginal bleeding.
  • Understand that there is a remote risk of
    fallopian tube rupture and excessive bleeding
  • Have decreasing levels of the blood pregnancy
    hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which suggests that your body
    is reabsorbing the ectopic pregnancy.
  • Be able to see your doctor
    for frequent checkups.

Increasing abdominal (belly) pain or pelvic pain, tubal rupture that causes internal bleeding, and high
serum hCG levels are reasons to stop expectant management and consider other
treatment options. In these cases, medicine or surgery or both are needed. Symptoms such as shoulder pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting could be signs of internal bleeding with tubal rupture.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD – Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo, MD – Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD – Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofMarch 16, 2017