- Women's Health
Symptoms of Cervical Pregnancy
What is a Cervical Pregnancy?In a cervix pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the endocervical canal instead of in the lining of the uterus, which happens in a normal pregnancy. A cervix pregnancy is rare, and the fetus (or baby) cannot survive and often does not develop at all. In fact, a cervix pregnancy usually aborts in the first trimester, though it can continue beyond this timeframe if the implantation is closer to the uterine cavity.
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Symptoms of a cervix pregnancy can include abnormal vaginal bleeding, amenorrhea, breast tenderness, lower back pain, mild cramping in the pelvis, nausea, and pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic area. Sometimes, a cervix pregnancy can cause rupture and bleeding. If this happens, symptoms can include fainting, intense rectal pressure, sharp pain in the lower abdomen, or pain in the shoulder area.
Approximately 1 in 9,000 pregnancies is a cervix pregnancy. These pregnancies are more likely to happen when assisted reproductive technologies (including in vitro fertilization) are used. The cause of a cervix pregnancy is unknown, but cervix pregnancies are a type of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in which implantation occurs outside of the uterus—usually in the fallopian tubes), which are known to be caused by abnormal inflammation, birth defects, complications of a ruptured appendix, or scarring from pelvic surgery.
Usually, a cervix pregnancy must be removed to save the mother’s life. In a few rare cases, however, when implantation occurred in the upper part of the cervical canal and extended into the lower part of the uterus, a cervix pregnancy has resulted in the birth of a live baby. In most cases, a first-trimester ultrasound can detect a cervix pregnancy. In these ultrasounds, cervix pregnancies can appear as a hemorrhagic mass, a gestational sax, or a fetus (with or without cardiac activity). Cervix pregnancies can be removed through an injection of potassium chloride or methotrexate or, in advanced pregnancies, through surgery. The earlier a cervix pregnancy is detected, the easier it is to treat without doing lasting harm to the mother.
It is not known what impact a cervix pregnancy has on a woman’s future fertility. Cervix pregnancies are so rare and few women are studied after the pregnancy is removed. However, factors that may influence a woman’s fertility following a cervix pregnancy include her age, whether she has already had children, and why the cervix pregnancy occurred.