What I learnt from my ectopic pregnancy: through the eyes of a general practitioner obstetric registrar

Sarah Saunders
Med J Aust 2021; 215 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51271
Published online: 18 October 2021

Acknowledging the loss can go a long way towards healing the complex grief related to ectopic pregnancies

One in four women in Australia experience an early pregnancy loss,1 but I never for one second thought I would be one of them. My partner and I made the decision to try for a family and were delighted to fall pregnant in the first cycle of trying. However, during week 7 of my pregnancy, as I stood in the operating theatre assisting with a caesarean delivery, I began to bleed. My β‐human chorionic gonadotropin (β‐HCG) level was somewhat reassuring as it doubled in 48 hours and there was perhaps hope that this was going to develop into a normal pregnancy. A scan done one week later, along with a suboptimal rising β‐HCG level and continued bleeding, was highly indicative of an ectopic pregnancy. I was a good candidate to try surgery‐sparing methotrexate, but a follow‐up blood test showed a rising β‐HCG level. The following day, I underwent a laparoscopic right salpingectomy, which confirmed a right fallopian tube ectopic pregnancy.

  • Alice Springs Hospital, Alice Springs, NT



I thank Katherine Hall and Katie Smith for their review and support and Megan Halliday for her support.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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