Irish women’s experience of Ectopic pregnancy

In this qualitative study, 7 women who experienced ectopic pregnancy were interviewed to gain insight into their experience. Key themes include treatment options, scans, bereavement counselling, outpatient care, reservations about future fertility and conception.

Niamh Spillane, Sarah Meaney, Keelin O' Donoghue
Journal Name
Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare
Journal Article
Ectopic pregnancy, Experience
Causes and consequences of pregnancy loss and perinatal death
Full Citation
Spillane N, Meaney S, O' Donoghue K. Irish women’s experience of Ectopic pregnancy. Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare. 2018;16:154-159.
Link to Publication


Due to the specific nature of ectopic pregnancy, grief experienced by women may be overlooked. Fertility concerns for the future and recovery from surgical or medical treatment may instead become the focus of care. The aim of this study was to gain insight into women’s experience of ectopic pregnancy. Seven women who had experienced an ectopic pregnancy in a large Irish maternity hospital were interviewed. The interview transcripts were analysed to explore how these women experienced ectopic pregnancy in their own situation. Key findings were the importance of clear information about treatment options; the scan used to diagnose the ectopic pregnancy was highlighted as important as it helped the women emotionally detach from the pregnancy. Lack of bereavement counselling and unsatisfactory outpatient care hindered closure and recovery for these women. There was increased apprehension about fertility and women reported feeling reluctant to conceive again. Women reported difficulty coming to terms with their diagnosis, which in turn impacted their recovery and illustrated women’s reservations to embark on future pregnancies. This study has implications for the care of women who experience ectopic pregnancy especially for how they are cared for from diagnosis to completion of treatment.

Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College Cork, Fifth Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 YE02, Ireland,