Bleeding and Spotting during Pregnancy

Bleeding or spotting, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy, is common and women who have it go ahead to have a safe delivery. Spotting refers to mild bleeding that you usually see at the beginning of the period. But in some rare cases, bleeding may be an indication of a condition that requires medical attention. Thus, understanding the causes of bleeding and knowing when to contact your doctor is important.


Some of the causes of bleeding during the first trimester include

  • Implantation bleeding: some normal spotting is normal when the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus. This may last only for a few hours or few days.
  • Miscarriage: this is one of the biggest concerns during the first few weeks of pregnancy. It is usually associated with severe lower abdominal cramps. If an ultrasound shows normal heartbeat during this period, chances of continuing a healthy pregnancy are
  • Ectopic pregnancy: In some rare cases, bleeding may be an indication of ectopic pregnancy. In this condition the embryo implants outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. Lightheadedness and a strong pain in the lower abdomen are other symptoms of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Molar pregnancy: Molar pregnancy refers to the growth of abnormal tissues in the uterus. Other symptoms of this condition include nausea and vomiting, and enlargement of the uterus.
  • Cervical changes and infection may also lead to bleeding in the earlier stages of pregnancy.

Some of the causes of bleeding during second and third trimesters include

  • Placenta privia: This is a very rare condition in which the placenta sits on the uterus and covers the opening of the birth canal. This may be painless, but requires immediate medical attention
  • Placental abruption: detachment of the placenta from the wall of the uterus leading to pooling of blood in the space between placenta and uterus is known as placental abruption. This is usually accompanied by other symptoms like abdominal pain, clots, and back pain.
  • Late miscarriage: This may be one of the reasons for bleeding during later stages of pregnancy.
  • Premature labor: Premature labor may also lead to bleeding in the third trimester. It is usually accompanied by other symptoms like changes in vaginal discharge, the pressure in lower abdomen, back pain, and abdominal pain.

When to see your doctor?

Vaginal bleeding should be reported to doctor whenever it happens. Do note any other symptoms that occur along with bleeding.

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