Ectopic pregnancy: The little known but potentially fatal condition affecting 1 in 80 pregnancies

Katie Tradie has shared her story with her TikTok followers Credit: Katie Tradie/Instagram

Last February, Katie Tradie had an ectopic pregnancy. It was a diagnosis the mum-of-two knew little about.

"I'd heard the word, but it's just a word that you've heard in passing," Katie told ITV News.

"I didn't really understand what it was and what that meant treatment wise either."

For Katie, it meant a form of chemotherapy.

"I didn't know anything about it or the after-effects or the sickness you get it with so it was all new to me and it was quite scary, especially when you hear the word chemo, it's quite nerve-wracking then", she said.

Katie said the diagnosis and treatment was 'quite scary'. Credit: Katie Tradie/Instagram

"Mentally, you're grieving a loss but it's very confusing because obviously the pregnancy wasn't going to lead anywhere anyway, that's why you've had to go through this treatment, so it's very sad and it does take a toll on you."

Thanks to an early diagnosis, Katie avoided emergency surgery - which can be the only option if the condition becomes life-threatening. 

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. It can cause the tube to tear or burst, which leads to dangerous internal bleeding.

Symptoms can be similar to any early pregnancy, but signs of a rupture include:

  • Sudden, severe abdominal or pelvic pain

  • Dizziness or fainting

  • Pain in the lower back

  • Pain in the shoulders

1 in 80 pregnancies are ectopic and if left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can be fatal.

Now charities are calling for greater awareness of the condition with Monday, 1 August marking the first ever Ectopic Pregnancy Awareness Day.

Munira Oza, from The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, said: "There are two main reasons why this awareness day is really important - one is to raise awareness that the condition exists and of the symptoms so that people are able to get care quickly, and the other is it can be a very lonely experience.

"Although it's very common, not many people talk about or know about ectopic pregnancy, and so this is an opportunity for people to open up that conversation."

Katie has been sharing her experiences of ectopic pregnancy with her half a million TikTok followers.

She said: "I run a mums group on TikTok and the whole basis of it is to share the hardest part of parenting and motherhood, and this was a really hard part that was affecting me in my life.

"I've always been really open and honest with everyone that follows me, and I just thought well I can use this opportunity to kind of educate and get support with it while I was going through it myself.

"I'm so glad that I shared it, there were so many women that reached out to me and they were going through the journey the same time as me, and it was kind of like you had a friend sharing the experience with you then and I really benefitted from it and I know it helped a lot of women."