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City Pregnancy
Counselling & Psychotherapy
A safe space to discuss pregnancy, pregnancy-loss and related issues, in the heart of the City of London
Crisis Pregnancy Help

Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes but sometimes in other places, such as the abdomen or cervix. An egg that is growing outside the womb cannot grow into a baby and, if left, can be life-threatening for the mother. Pregnancy loss through ectopic pregnancy causes unique emotional and psychological trauma. Just as with stillbirth or miscarriage, the news that a pregnancy is ectopic can be devastating for the parents who grieve for the child they will never know but, in addition, if the fertilised egg is still implanted and growing, they will have to face the additional trauma of having the pregnancy terminated. They might also have been told that the pregnancy has caused damage to the woman’s fallopian tubes and that it may be more difficult for her to conceive in the future.

Ectopic pregnancy loss can have an overwhelming impact on the woman, her partner and family. Most commonly, there will be feelings of grief and bereavement. The exact way in which these emotions manifest themselves and when will vary from person to person but typically include physical symptoms such as tiredness, difficulty sleeping and loss of appetite. Emotional symptoms can include shock and numbness, extreme sadness and sometimes anger and difficulties in being around those who are pregnant or have babies or young children. There can also be a strong sense of guilt and self-blame.

Whilst the intensity of emotions will fade with time, it is not the case that time will heal all, or that those who have suffered an ectopic pregnancy will eventually ‘get over it’. Sometimes people can become stuck in their grief, or feel completely overwhelmed by it. Or, they may have thought they had come to terms with an ectopic pregnancy that occurred some time ago in their past, only to have the memories and feelings re-emerge, sometimes in connection with a specific event such as another pregnancy, sometimes for no discernible reason. Others may be worried about suffering another ectopic pregnancy in the future or about difficulties conceiving again.

When a person or a couple find themselves in this situation, therapists at CPCP who are trained with a therapeutic specialism in working with this type of pregnancy loss, can help them to come to terms with their loss, identifying and laying to rest unwanted thoughts and patterns behaviours that may have arisen as a result and to find their way back to viewing the future with hope. If you or your partner have suffered an ectopic pregnancy and would like to talk to someone about how you are feeling, you can contact CPCP using the contact details that appear on this website. Other sources of information and support can be found at The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust.

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