What Causes Vaginal Bleeding
Bleeding in the 1st trimester is not always a problem. It may be caused by:
- Other factors that will not harm the woman or baby.
- A threatened miscarriage. Many threatened miscarriages do not progress to pregnancy loss.
More serious causes of first-trimester bleeding include:
- A miscarriage, which is the loss of the pregnancy before the embryo or fetus can live on its own outside the uterus. Almost all women who miscarry will have bleeding before a miscarriage.
- An ectopic pregnancy, which may cause bleeding and cramping.
- A molar pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg implants in the uterus that will not come to term.
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When Should I See A Doctor
You should see a doctor if you have unexplained spotting between periods. Although it may be nothing to worry about and may go away on its own, it could also be a sign of something serious.
If you dont already have a doctor, the Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area.
Record when your spotting occurs as well as any other symptoms you experience so you can share the information with a doctor.
See a doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms in addition to spotting:
How Can I Tell If It’s Implantation Bleeding Or My Period
Here’s how to tell whether your bleeding is more likely to be implantation bleeding or your period:
- Amount of blood. Implantation bleeding is a lot lighter than a typical period. It’s usually just a little spotting.
- Length of time. Most women bleed for three to seven days during their period. Implantation bleeding often lasts only one to three days.
- Color. Menstrual blood is usually bright red or dark red, but implantation bleeding tends to be a light pink, brown, or rust discharge.
- Clotting. Many women bleed enough during their period that some of the blood clots or becomes like a gel. Implantation bleeding is too light to clot.
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What Are The Most Common Causes Of Bleeding In The Second Or Third Trimester
Bleeding in the second half of pregnancy is often associated with more serious conditions, so contact your healthcare provider immediately so they’re aware of your symptoms.
Some conditions that can cause bleeding in the second and third trimesters are:
- Placenta previa: When the placenta covers all or part of your cervix. Its 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.
- Preterm labor: Going into labor earlier than 37 weeks of pregnancy. Other symptoms of preterm labor are contractions, cramping or your membranes rupturing.
- Incompetent cervix: When the cervix opens too early and causes premature labor.
- 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 labor.
- Miscarriage: A loss of the pregnancy after the 20th week. This is also called a stillbirth.
Spotting Or Bleeding In Pregnancy
Bleeding or spotting in early pregnancy can be very worrying and cause considerable stress for mums-to-be, but it doesnt necessarily mean your pregnancy is at risk. Light bleeding, or spotting, is very common, especially during the early stages of your pregnancy. Usually, pregnancy spotting is no cause for alarm, but if you are experiencing any bleeding when you’re pregnant, you should give your doctor a call. They wont mind hearing from you!
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When Can You Get A Positive Pregnancy Test Result
Home pregnancy tests look for human chorionic gonadotrophin in your urine. This is produced after the egg implants, but not at detectable levels until 6 to 14 days after fertilization. Your most reliable results will be starting on the day of your missed period, since all cycles are unique.
You can purchase a test at supermarkets, drugstores, or online. Follow all instructions and follow up with your doctor if you have a positive result or if you have a negative result but your period does not start.
In some cases, you may want to go in and have a blood draw, which can detect lower levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG.
To recap, the following things need to happen to achieve pregnancy:
Above all else, you can increase your chances of pregnancy each month by gaining a better understanding of the menstrual cycle and pinpointing your fertile window. You can have sex a million times, but if youre not in the right part of your cycle, it wont result in pregnancy.
Sex as early as 5 days before ovulation can lead to conception, but the chances are highest with sex the day immediately before the egg is released.
What Are The Signs Of Early Miscarriage
Early miscarriage refers to loss of a pregnancy in the first trimester. The majority of early miscarriages occur before the pregnancy is 10 weeks gestation. Some miscarriages happen very early, even before a woman is sure she is pregnant. Still, miscarriage can be a hard and sad experience, no matter when it occurs.
Miscarriage is more common than many people realize. About 10 to 20% of women who learn they are pregnant will have an early miscarriage. The rates of early miscarriage are even higher when women are checking home pregnancy tests very close to the time of their period and are finding a positive test VERY early. By chance alone, 1% to 4% of women will have two miscarriages in a row. However, it is very rare to have 3 or more miscarriages in a row, which is recurrent miscarriage.
In medical terms, early miscarriage is called an early pregnancy failure. This means that the pregnancy failed to develop. Almost all early miscarriages are due to circumstances beyond anyones control, and were destined to happen before the woman even knows she is pregnant.
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What Causes Early Miscarriage
Almost nothing you can do will cause an early miscarriage. Avoiding sex or heavy work will not impact an early pregnancy. There are a lot of changes that need to occur with the cells and genes in a developing pregnancy, and sometimes those changes do not happen perfectly. There are some health conditions or habits that can increase the chance that an early miscarriage will occur, including:
- Use of illicit drugs, especially cocaine
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Physical problems with the uterus, including fibroids or abnormalities of development of the uterus
Cramping And Spotting During Early Pregnancy
From weeks 1 to4, everything is still happening on a cellular level. The fertilized egg creates a blastocyst that will develop into the fetuss organs and body parts.
About 10 to 14 days after conception, the blastocyst will implant in the endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus. This can cause implantation bleeding, which may be mistaken for a light period. It does not occur for everyone. If it does occur, it will usually happen around the time you expect your period.
Here are some signs of implantation bleeding:
- Color. The color of each episode may be pink, red, or brown.
- Bleeding. Implantation bleeding is usually much less than your usual period. Its often described as light bleeding that never turns into a flow or enough to need a tampon.
- Pain. Pain is usually milder than your usual menstrual pain. It may involve some cramping. It can be moderate or severe, but its most often mild.
- Episodes. Implantation bleeding is likely to last less than 3 days and does not require treatment. It can sometimes last only a few hours.
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Changes In Bathroom Habits
Bowel and bladder symptoms can appear in early pregnancy. A person might experience frequent urges to urinate during the day and night. They may also have constipation, which affects of people at some time during pregnancy, according to 2012 research.
In the early stages of pregnancy, the rise in hCG levels
8 days after conception. As the pregnancy progresses, levels rise by around 50% a day. HGC is detectable in urine a few days later than in the blood.
Tests for home use are urine tests. A person will need to go to a healthcare facility for a blood test.
A range of pregnancy tests are available for home use, and some are more sensitive than others. This means they can detect hCG at lower levels.
Many tests claim to be 99% accurate, but experts note that not all of them undergo rigorous scientific testing. A person may also get a false-negative result if they take the test too early, do not follow the instructions precisely, or do not handle the test as the manufacturer intended.
When taking a test, a person should:
- read the instructions carefully
- ensure they handle the test as advised
- try to avoid taking the test too early
Nd And 3th Trimester Causes Of Spotting
When spotting occurs later in pregnancy , often the cause is not known and the spotting does not indicate any problems, particularly if the spotting is light and temporary. However, particularly in the second half of pregnancy, spotting, especially if it progresses to heavier bleeding, can be concerning.
More serious conditions that may include spotting include:
- Placenta previaoccurs when the placenta is placed over the opening to the cervix. A C-section delivery may be necessary unless the placenta moves away from the cervix.
- Placental abruption: from the uterine wall before delivery often results in very heavy bleeding, but at times the bleeding is contained above the placenta and only spotting occurs. This can result in preterm birth or other pregnancy complications, including pregnancy loss.
- Labor:When the cervix begins to dilate in early labor. it is common to have a “bloody show.” So, if you’re close to term and have spotting, labor may be starting.
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Missed Period During Early Pregnancy
Once implantation is complete, your body will begin making human chorionic gonadotropin . This hormone helps the body maintain the pregnancy. It also tells the ovaries to stop releasing mature eggs each month.
You will likely miss your next period 4 weeks after conception. If you typically have an irregular period, youll want to take a pregnancy test to confirm.
Most home tests can detect hCG as soon as 8 days after a missed period. A pregnancy test will be able to detect hCG levels in your urine and show if you are pregnant.
Spotting During The Third Trimester
Light bleeding or spotting during late pregnancy may occur after sex or a cervical exam. This is common and not usually cause for concern. It can also be due to a bloody show, or a sign that labor is starting.
If you experience heavy vaginal bleeding during late pregnancy, seek emergency medical care. It could be caused by a:
- placenta previa
Timely emergency care is necessary for your safety and that of your baby.
If you experience a lighter blood flow or light spotting, you should still call your doctor right away. Depending on your other symptoms, you may need an evaluation.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor About Bleeding During Pregnancy
Bleeding during pregnancy can be scary. Its natural to have questions for your healthcare provider. Some questions to ask your provider are:
- Is spotting later in pregnancy normal?
- When should I be concerned about bleeding?
- How do I know if I am bleeding too much?
- Is my baby OK? Am I OK?
- Should I avoid having sex if I am bleeding?
- Do I need to reduce my activity if I’m bleeding?
- When should I go to the ER?
A Personal Note: What My Pregnancy Symptoms Were Like
Some of these pregnancy symptoms are hard to quantify, especially when it’s something like “feeling different.” But, you may well feel different somehow even though you can’t explain how you feel different.
In my first pregnancy, the earliest signs for me were the enlarged nipples and breasts and breast tenderness as well as feeling dizzy, sick and extremely tired. And yesâI did feel different!
During my second pregnancy, the most noticeable early symptoms were a metallic taste in my mouth, an aversion to drinking tea and a heightened sense of smell. This last symptom got worse and worse throughout my pregnancy and it became difficult to manage all of the smells that made me either feel sick or actually be sick. Smells I couldn’t handle were anything soapy such as body wash and deodorant, perfume, aftershave and alcohol. There were a lot more, but these were the main ones.
For my third pregnancy, me, my husband and our daughter were away traveling around Europe in our motorhome. We’d stopped to work on a farm for a few weeks, when I started to feel incredibly tired.
I couldn’t work out why I felt that way after a good night’s sleep and I had no other symptoms of illness, so I tried drinking extra coffee to keep me awake . Then a few days later I started feeling really unwell to the point I spent around four days laying down resting, but no real symptoms as suchâI might describe them like the flu without the sore throat and cough.
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What Are The Causes Of Bleeding During Pregnancy
The causes of bleeding during pregnancy are generally divided into two categories bleeding before 20 weeks and bleeding after 20 weeks gestation.
Before 20 weeks gestation, causes of bleeding may include:
- Implantation bleeding in very early pregnancy some women may experience bleeding when the pregnancy implants itself in the lining of the uterus .
- Miscarriage bleeding may be the first sign of a miscarriage. About 1 in 15 women who experience bleeding in early pregnancy end up having a miscarriage.
- Ectopic pregnancy a rare but serious cause of bleeding when a fertilised egg starts growing outside the uterus . An ectopic pregnancy can rupture and cause heavy bleeding, and may be life-threatening.
Bleeding in later pregnancy is usually caused by problems with the placenta such as:
- Placenta previa also known as a ‘low lying placenta’, when the placenta implants close to the cervix . If the cervix starts to open or the uterus contracts, this can cause bleeding.
- Placental abruption when the placenta starts to separate from the uterus during pregnancy but before birth, causing bleeding from the place where the placenta has peeled away. Bleeding caused by placental abruption is usually associated with sudden, severe abdominal pain.
Less common causes of bleeding, which may happen at any stage of pregnancy, may include:
- genital tract infections
- injuries to the genital tract
- growths or tumours of the reproductive system
- bleeding from vulvovaginal varicosities
When Should You Take A Pregnancy Test
If you think you may be pregnant, wait until the first day after your missed period to take a pregnancy test. If you had ovulation bleeding, this may be about 15 to 16 days after the bleeding occurred.
Taking a test too early may result in a false-negative test. Pregnancy tests measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin in your urine. This hormone rises rapidly when youre pregnant, but in the very early days of pregnancy, the levels will be too low to detect in your urine.
If your test comes back positive, make an appointment with your OB/GYN to confirm the results. If your test is negative and your period still hasnt started, take another test a week later. If your test is still negative, make an appointment to see your doctor.
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What Are The Most Common Causes Of Bleeding In The First Trimester
Bleeding or spotting in the first trimester can be common and doesnt always mean there is something wrong. Try not to worry. Take notes of the type of bleeding you see and call your healthcare provider to let them know your symptoms.
Some causes of bleeding in the first part of pregnancy are:
- Implantation bleeding: This is when the fertilized egg implants in the wall of your uterus and causes light bleeding. Its considered a normal part of early pregnancy.
- Molar pregnancy: A rare condition when a fertilized egg implants in your uterus, but a tumor forms instead of a baby.
- Ectopic pregnancy: When a pregnancy forms outside of your uterus . It can be life-threatening.
- Subchorionic hematoma: Bleeding from one of the membranes that surround the embryo inside your uterus. Subchorionic hematomas usually resolve on their own.
- Cervical polyps: A noncancerous growth on your cervix that bleeds in pregnancy due to increased estrogen levels.
- 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.
Things To Know About Implantation Bleeding & Early Pregnancy
Many people focus on missing their period as one of the first signs of early pregnancy. You might be surprised to learn that a small amount of blood and some cramping known as implantation bleeding can be a sign of pregnancy as the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining and your 9-month journey begins.
Here are 5 things you need to know about implantation bleeding and how to tell if the bleeding may be a sign of pregnancy or of your oncoming period.
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