Abdominal pregnancy misdiagnosed as an intrauterine pregnancy: a cause of failed induction of labour for fetal death

Nkencho Osegi, Olakunle I. Makinde, Peter O. Eghaghe, Zakaa Zawua, Bright N. Ohaka


Abdominal pregnancy is a rare form of ectopic pregnancy usually associated with fetal death among other complications, although very rare cases of live births have been reported. There is also a high risk of maternal mortality. A high index of suspicion is required to make a preoperative diagnosis as diagnosis from history, examination and ultrasound is often missed. Misdiagnoses as an intrauterine pregnancy usually occur. This misdiagnosis makes management of patients with an abdominal pregnancy a challenge and may affect treatment outcome. We managed a 35 year old pregnant multipara who was referred to us on account of repeated failed attempts at induction of labour for intrauterine fetal death. Three obstetric ultrasound scans done during the course of patient’s management reported an intrauterine dead fetus. We also failed to achieve uterine evacuation. We resorted to carry out a hysterotomy and following laparotomy, we found an abdominal pregnancy. This finding was unexpected by us, however, we delivered the dead fetus and was able to successfully manage the placenta. Discovering an abdominal pregnancy at surgery carried out for a supposed intrauterine pregnancy is usual for many cases of abdominal pregnancy. Clinicians should be aware of the clinical signs and symptoms that raise a suspicion of abdominal pregnancy as prompt preoperative diagnosis of abdominal pregnancy helps to plan and offer early and appropriate intervention. This reduces the incidence of maternal mortality usually due to massive intra-abdominal haemorrhage arising from delayed diagnosis and poor placenta management.  


Abdominal pregnancy, Failed induction of labour, Intrauterine fetal death, Laparotomy, Misoprostol

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