Skip to Content

Expectant Management in Ectopic Pregnancy

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 management.)

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 (hemorrhage).
  • 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, 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.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised April 26, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Classes & Events

  • Sep
    17
    Wednesday
    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    Providing a supportive environment for postpartum parents and their babies to learn and connect with others.
  • Sep
    23
    Tuesday
    6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
    Join our lactation consultant in an informal discussion to answer your questions and concerns regarding breastfeeding your newborn.
  • Sep
    23
    Tuesday
    6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
    Join our lactation consultant in an informal discussion to answer your questions and concerns regarding breastfeeding your newborn.

Section Links

Health Library