Bleeding or spotting in the initial months of pregnancy

Bleeding or spotting in the initial months of pregnancy

When you are in your early pregnancy, it can be unnerving to see any bleeding or spotting happening. Many women panic if they bleed or spot, just when they were rejoicing the confirmation of their pregnancy.

Is spotting or bleeding normal during early pregnancy?

Does it point to miscarriage or other problems in your pregnancy?

Well, bleeding or spotting during early pregnancy may not point to a problem always. There are many women who have experienced spotting in the early months of pregnancy and went on to have a normal pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby.

At least 20% of pregnant women experience spotting or light bleeding in early pregnancy.

Also Read: 11 Important Factors to Consider Before Choosing the Best Hospital for Delivery

What is normal and what isn’t?

Though spotting or bleeding during pregnancy may not always be a cause for concern, sometimes it may point to something serious.

How can you make out if the spotting/bleeding you are experiencing is a cause for concern or is it normal?

Not a cause for concern when

  • You are just spotting with only a few drops of blood on your underwear and lasts for 2-3 days.
  • You experience light bleeding with the color being almost pinkish or brownish for 2-3 days.

Serious Concern when

  • Your bleeding is crimson in color and is accompanied by cramps, you should rush to the doctor immediately.
  • Your bleeding in a day requires you to use a sanitary pad or if the bleeding continues for more than 3 days, it is a serious concern which should be reported to your doctor.

What causes bleeding or spotting during early pregnancy?

There are many reasons due to which a pregnant woman can experience bleeding or spotting. Some can be serious problems like:

  • Miscarriage
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Molar pregnancy
  • Sometimes spotting and light bleeding can occur due to implantation of the embryo in the uterus
  • Infections, changes or infection in cervix etc

Let us understand more about these.

Situations that require immediate medical attention:

#1. Miscarriage

It is also termed as pregnancy loss and can be caused by various factors like chromosomal or genetic defects of the embryo, hormonal issues etc.

Miscarriage usually happens in the early pregnancy (between 4-12 weeks of pregnancy) and is accompanied by onset of heavy bleeding and severe cramps.

You should consult your doctor immediately if you experience the symptoms of miscarriage.

#2. Ectopic Pregnancy

This occurs when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. This results in heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain, and may even cause you to faint. You should rush to the hospital immediately if you exhibit the above symptoms as delay in medical aid may prove to be fatal.

#3. Molar Pregnancy

Molar pregnancies are rare and can be discovered within a few weeks of conception. The cells of the embryo formed will not develop properly but instead grow into a ball of cysts. The placenta may also get formed as a mass of small cysts. This causes bright red vaginal bleeding, severe nausea and cramping. If you notice such symptoms, rush to the doctor immediately.

Also Read: What could bleeding mean in pregnancy? Should I visit to the doctor?

Causes that may not be harmful for the pregnancy:

#1. Implantation Bleeding

Implantation bleeding occurs in many women when the embryo implants on to the uterine wall. It is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy and may occur at around the same time as your period. It is usually light pinkish or brownish in color and lasts for a few hours or a day or two. This is not something you should be concerned about.

#2. Cervical polyp

Cervical polyp is a harmless and benign growth on the cervix. Due to high estrogen levels during pregnancy, it is likely to bleed during pregnancy. The bleeding or spotting will be light and not last more than a few hours. It is not a cause for much concern.

#3. Gynecological exam such as vaginal ultrasound or pap smear

During pregnancy, there is an increase in the number of blood vessels in the tissue around the cervix. Sometimes slight contact in this area by your gynecologist during examination or during a vaginal ultrasound or during a pap smear test may cause light bleeding. If you experience light bleeding and have recently undergone a scan or a checkup by your doctor, you can ignore it.

Also Read: 8 Things to Consider while Choosing the Right Gynecologist for You

#4. Vaginal or Cervical Infections

Spotting can also be caused by reasons not related to pregnancy such as yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. With the increase in hormones during pregnancy, there will be a good increase in the vaginal discharge, which can result in bacterial or yeast infections. These infections can cause the cervix to become inflamed or irritated and prone to bleeding. If you have any other symptoms of infection such as itching, burning sensation along with bleeding, consult your doctor immediately.

However, these infections are unlikely to harm your pregnancy.

#5. Subchorionic hemorrhage

In this condition, blood accumulates within the folds of the outer fetal membrane or between the placenta and the uterine wall causing a clot. These clots are either absorbed by the body later or sometimes, drops of dark blood or small clots are passed out from the vagina. It is not a serious concern and does not harm your pregnancy.

As you have read, there can be multiple reasons for bleeding or spotting during early pregnancy. Some indicate a serious issue and others are not worth any concern.

The symptoms of a serious cause will usually be:

  1. Severe cramping
  2. Heavy Bleeding of crimson or bright red color
  3. Abdominal or back pain
  4. Fainting or severe dizziness
  5. Sudden decrease in early pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, breast tenderness etc.

However, as a pregnant woman, it is difficult to self-diagnose if the bleeding or spotting you are experiencing is normal or abnormal. You will be putting your life at great risk if you are experiencing something serious but choose to ignore it assuming it to be normal.

Also Read: Is papaya harmful during pregnancy?

So mommies, it is always better to consult a doctor immediately if you experience bleeding or spotting during early pregnancy. Your gynecologist would be the best person to diagnose the reason for this and provide you treatment if required.

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