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Treating an Ectopic Pregnancy With Surgery: Care Instructions

Inside view of uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, with pregnancy outside of uterus in fallopian tube.


An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus. In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg grows inside the uterus.

In most ectopic pregnancies, the egg grows in a fallopian tube. This is also called a tubal pregnancy. Sometimes the egg grows in an ovary or some other place in the belly. But this is rare. An ectopic pregnancy never becomes a normal pregnancy and birth.

You had surgery to treat your ectopic pregnancy. This was done to prevent dangerous problems. After your surgery, you may have vaginal bleeding that's like a period. It may last for about a week. You may need a few weeks to recover.

You should be able to have a normal pregnancy in the future. But you may have a higher risk for more ectopic pregnancies. Tell your doctor right away if you get pregnant again.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Your doctor might want you to use sanitary pads if you have vaginal bleeding. Using pads makes it easier to keep track of your bleeding. You may use tampons during your next period. It should start in 3 to 6 weeks.
  • Ask your doctor when you can have vaginal sex again.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Get plenty of rest. You may be more tired than normal for a few weeks.
  • Take it easy and avoid lifting until your doctor tells you it is safe to do your normal activities.
  • Pay attention to your feelings. If you're sad and it's not getting any easier, talk with your doctor or a counsellor.
  • Talk to your doctor if you want to try to get pregnant soon. The doctor can tell you when it's safe to do so.
  • If you don't want to get pregnant, ask your doctor about birth control. It's safe to use birth control during your recovery. It's possible to get pregnant again before your next period starts.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have severe vaginal bleeding.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have new or worse pain in your belly or pelvis.
  • You have vaginal discharge that smells bad.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.