Pregnancy Home > Ectopic Pregnancy Pain

While pain is one of the most common symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, whether or not it occurs will depend on where the pregnancy is located and if it has ruptured. What's more, painless ectopic pregnancies are becoming more common. If present, pain with ectopic pregnancy may feel like a dull ache in the abdomen or an intense, shooting sensation.

Is an Ectopic Pregnancy Painful?

Pain is the most common symptom of an ectopic pregnancy, occurring in more than 90 percent of cases. However, there is no "classic" characteristic of pain with an ectopic pregnancy. In some cases, the pain may not occur at all. Whether this symptom occurs depends on where the pregnancy is located and whether it has ruptured.

Where Does the Pain Occur?

With an ectopic pregnancy, pain can occur in one or several locations, including the lower abdomen (stomach) and pelvic region.
If an ectopic pregnancy has ruptured, the pain may be more generalized within the abdomen. It also may move up to the shoulder or even the neck.

What Does Ectopic Pregnancy Pain Feel Like?

Similar to its location, the pain felt with an ectopic pregnancy can also vary. For some women, the pain has been described as a dull ache located on one side of the abdomen. For others, the sensation ranges from long-lasting, throbbing pain to intense, shooting pain.

Ectopic Pregnancy Without Pain

While pain is the most common symptom of an ectopic pregnancy, it is not uncommon for a woman to have a painless ectopic pregnancy. With advancements in medical technology, this scenario is becoming more common.
In these cases, women may initially see their doctor because they have missed their period and are not having early-pregnancy bleeding or spotting. Some women without ectopic pregnancy pain may first go to their doctor because they are lightheaded or have fainted.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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