Ectopic pregnancy after postcoital diethylstilbestrol

1975 Study Abstract

A case report is presented of the failure of diethylstilbestrol to prevent an ectopic pregnancy.

A 29-year-old physician’s wife, gravida 4, para 2, abortuses 2, received 25 mg diethylstilbestrol twice daily for 5 days beginning on Day 14 of the menstrual cycle after condom accident during intercourse the prior night. Withdrawal bleeding did not occur. The patient’s menstrual period before the condom accident had begun on August 25, 1971.

In mid-October she returned to the doctor feeling pregnant. The pregnancy test was positive on October 18, 1971, and physical examination revealed a soft uterus of about 7 weeks’ gestation.

Because of the fear of congenital defects in the fetus from diethylstilbestrol, suction curettage was carried out on October 27, 1971.

On October 31, 1971, the patient experienced great pain in the lower left quadrant. Her abdomen was tender and distended, and pelvic examination revealed a bulging cul-de-sac from which culdocentesis revealed nonclotting blood. Laparotomy revealed a ruptured tubal pregnancy on the left side. A left salpingectomy was carried out which pathologically confirmed a tubal pregnancy.

The question of whether diethylstilbestrol prevents implantation in the uterus but not in extrauterine sites is examined. A report by Morris is noted in which the only 3 pregnancies which followed diethylstilbestrol failure were ectopic. It is recommended that others with similar cases report them in order to better understand what occurs.


  • Ectopic pregnancy after postcoital diethylstilbestrol, American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, PMID: 1115139, 1975 Jan.
  • Image credit Asdrubal luna.

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