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  • Writer's pictureGrace Health

Bleeding During Pregnancy, Is It Normal?

Blood during pregnancy is something you do not want to see, right? In fact if anything it is the last thing on your mind and if it crosses your mind you probably wish it away and force yourself to be more positive and think happy thoughts.

But is bleeding when pregnant a regular thing or should you be worried? Let’s find out.

Why am I bleeding during my pregnancy?

It’s common to have bleeding at some point in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester and it happens for various reasons. Despite this fact, bleeding at any time in pregnancy could indicate a complication or an underlying condition. This is why it is always a good idea to share your symptoms with your healthcare provider to determine if the bleeding is caused by something serious. Remember panicking will not help. There are plenty of women who still go ahead to have healthy babies even after bleeding at some point.

Is it just bleeding or spotting?

There's a huge difference between bleeding and spotting during pregnancy. Spotting is usually a few drops of blood. If you were to wear a panty liner on, the blood won't fill it. On the other hand, bleeding is a flow of blood that's greater than a drop here and there. It will require more than just a panty liner and might need you to change it after a few hours. Spotting during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, is usually not concerning but it’s always advisable to visit your doctor they may want to examine you to determine the cause. It doesn’t hurt to be overly cautious to ensure you and your unborn baby are healthy.

What would vaginal bleeding during pregnancy look like?

Just like how different our periods are from one person to another, bleeding could also vary from person to person. Since your doctor would like to know what the period blood looks like and evaluate your symptoms, it would help to track your period details such as:

Grace app comes in handy and helps you track these details making it easy to share with your doctor if need be!😊

What are the possible causes of bleeding in the first trimester?

As previously mentioned, bleeding or spotting in the first trimester can be common and doesn’t always mean there is something wrong. However, at times, it can be a cause for alarm that needs urgent attention. Some causes of bleeding in the first three months of pregnancy are:

  • Implantation bleeding: This is when the fertilized egg implants in the wall of your uterus and causes light bleeding. It’s considered a normal part of early pregnancy.

  • Miscarriage: The loss of the pregnancy before 20 weeks. It usually starts as light bleeding and gets heavier. It can be accompanied by severe cramping.

  • Ectopic pregnancy: When a pregnancy forms outside of your uterus (like in your fallopian tubes). It can be life-threatening.

  • Molar pregnancy: A rare condition when a fertilized egg implants in your uterus, but a tumour forms instead of a baby.

  • Cervical polyps: A noncancerous growth on your cervix that bleeds in pregnancy due to increased estrogen levels.

  • Subchorionic hematoma: Bleeding from one of the membranes that surround the embryo inside your uterus. Subchorionic hematomas usually resolve on their own.

What are the possible causes of bleeding in the second and third trimesters?

In these two phases, bleeding is often associated with more serious conditions, so contact your doctor immediately so they're aware of your symptoms.

Some conditions that can cause bleeding in the second and third trimesters are:

  • Miscarriage: A loss of the pregnancy after the 20th week. This is also called a stillbirth.

  • Placenta previa: When the placenta covers all or part of your cervix. It’s rare after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Placental abruption: A rare condition where the placenta detaches from the wall of your uterus. This can be dangerous for both you and your fetus.

  • Incompetent cervix: When the cervix opens (dilates) too early and causes premature labour.

  • Bloody show: Light bleeding mixed with mucus that occurs toward the end of your pregnancy. It can be a sign that your body is preparing for labour.

  • Preterm labour: Going into labour earlier than 37 weeks of pregnancy. Other symptoms of preterm labour are contractions, cramping or your membranes rupturing.

Are there any other causes of bleeding during pregnancy?

Sometimes bleeding isn't caused by any medical conditions. However, it’s advisable to discuss any spotting or bleeding with your doctor to make sure.

Other reasons you may bleed during pregnancy are:

  • Infection: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause light bleeding. These infections will need to be treated by your healthcare provider.

  • Sex: Some women experience light bleeding after sex. This is due to your cervix being extra tender during pregnancy.

  • Pelvic exam or ultrasound: Your cervix can bleed after a pelvic exam or transvaginal ultrasound because it’s highly sensitive (due to increased hormones).

How is the bleeding during pregnancy treated?

When you get to your doctor’s office, they will want to perform an ultrasound and physical evaluation to determine the cause of your bleeding. They may order blood or urine tests and perform additional imaging tests like MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

Some of the things that will be recommended to you include:

  • Relaxing and staying off your feet

  • Avoiding sex

  • Avoiding travel

  • Bedrest

  • Hospitalization or surgery if the bleeding is severe

When should you call a doctor?

Your doctor should know of any bleeding or spotting immediately after it happens. Even if it’s not serious at that moment in your pregnancy, they'll want to make note of your symptoms.

In summary

Bleeding at any stage of your pregnancy can be scary, but most times it’s not as serious especially if you are still in your 1st trimester. However, it is advisable to always notify your doctor when you see blood so that they can be able to keep track and advice you better.

Stay informed, stay in control Was this helpful?

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