Abdominal pregnancy (peritoneal pregnancy) is a form of pregnancy which occurs outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy). The fertilised egg cell implants itself outside the uterus in the abdomen. If the fertilised egg cell does not die in the early stage and develops further, this is known as an abdominal pregnancy.
During an abdominal pregnancy, the fertilised egg is not intercepted by the fallopian tubes and transported into the uterus. The egg implants itself in the abdomen instead. Fallopian tube infections or surgery carried out in the abdomen or in the pelvis increase the risk of an abdominal pregnancy occurring. Women who have already had an abdominal pregnancy also have an increased risk of undergoing a further such pregnancy. However, abdominal pregnancies account for only around 1 % of pregnancies outside the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy affects the fallopian tubes much more frequently. For more information, please refer to the ectopic pregnancy section.
In most cases, an egg cell which implants itself in the abdomen dies a natural death in an early stage of development. However, in rare cases, the progeny develops into a mature foetus. There are even several cases of full-term abdominal pregnancies where the children were born by caesarean section.
Abdominal pregnancies are not usually carried full-term as they are high-risk and are associated with life-threatening complications. The indications of an abdominal pregnancy are initially the same as those of a normal pregnancy: amenorrhoea, positive pregnancy test, common pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and breast tenderness. If the progeny develops further, this can cause pain in the vagina, severe nausea and circulatory problems.
If the egg cell does not die early, the abdominal pregnancy will usually be discovered during the first pregnancy check-up. Early stages of pregnancy can sometimes be ended with medication by injecting it directly into the progeny. However, an ectopic pregnancy must usually be ended surgically. With a laparoscopic procedure. Find out more about laparoscopic surgery in the laparoscopy section.