Incidence

Abdominal pregnancies are rare events. In the United States, it is estimated that it occurs once in 10 000 live births and once also for every 1000 ectopic pregnancies1. A more recent African report provides a much higher estimate of 4.3% of ectopic pregnancies, which is probably a reflection of referral patterns in that region as well as a higher baseline rate of inherent tubal disease in the patient base of the hospital catchment area2. However, it also may be reasonable to presume that the incidence of abdominal pregnancies may have risen over the years, considering that the risk factors such as ectopic pregnancy, infertility from tuberculosis and endometriosis, pelvic infections and infertility treatments are more common today. Regardless, an obstetrician practicing alone may never come across an abdominal pregnancy in a career spanning decades. In the singular instance where he/she does have the need to treat such a patient, it may be in circumstances far from ideal. Although unusual, obstetricians should be aware of this potentially fatal condition, a circumstance amply illustrated by the first two cases described above.

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