Pregnancy Home > Ectopic Pregnancy Causes
Because there are several causes of ectopic pregnancy, sometimes the exact reason is known; sometimes it isn't. In cases where the causes are known, possibilities include a problem with the fertilized egg itself and transport problems within the fallopian tube. Risk factors for the condition include having had an ectopic pregnancy in the past, a history of IUD use, or a history of pelvic inflammatory disease.
Ectopic Pregnancy Causes: An Overview
There are many possible causes of ectopic pregnancy; however, in women who develop such a pregnancy, the cause is not always known. When known, possible causes can include:
- Transport problems within the fallopian tube. This most often occurs because of damage to the surface from infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.
- Problems with some mechanism within the fertilized egg itself.
- A released egg traveling to the other fallopian tube, resulting in a delay of transport within the fallopian tube.
Know the Risk FactorsWhile not actual ectopic pregnancy "causes," several factors can increase a woman's chances for developing an ectopic pregnancy. These are known as ectopic pregnancy risk factors. These risk factors include:
- A history of pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID. The risk of ectopic pregnancy in a woman with a history of PID is 1 in 24.
- Women whose mothers took diethylstilbestrol (DES) while pregnant.
- History of a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.
- A previous ectopic pregnancy (the risk is increased by up to 50 percent).
- A previous tubal surgery for infertility.
- Tubal sterilization procedure, such as laparoscopic tubal ligation or postpartum tubal ligation, within the past one to two years. The risk is increased if cauterization was used.
- History of IUD use.
- Pregnancy with an IUD in place.
- Prolonged infertility.
- Multiple sex partners.
- Vaginal douching.