What Causes Bleeding While Pregnant

Unidentified Causes And More

Real Question: Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy?

Its also possible to have spotting for an unidentifiable reason. In early pregnancy youre going through so many bodily changes.

In some people, changes to the cervix can cause mild spotting. Other times, hormonal changes may be responsible. You may also experience mild spotting after sexual intercourse or if youre very active.

Infection is another possible cause for spotting, which is why its important to talk with your doctor about any spotting during pregnancy. They can rule out more serious causes and put your mind at ease.

What Is The Treatment For Spotting And Bleeding During Pregnancy

In addition to an exam and various tests at the doctors office, rest and relaxation are often the best treatments for a case of spotting or bleeding during pregnancy. That might include some time away from work, getting help with little ones and chores at home, and skipping sex for a while.

More serious cases of bleeding during pregnancy may require a hospital visit or surgery, depending on the diagnosis. If your blood type is Rh negative, youll get an injection of RhoGAM if Rh incompatibility is diagnosed during your pregnancy.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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:

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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When To Get Emergency Care

If you are experiencing heavy bleeding or bleeding that is accompanied by cramping, pelvic pressure, contractions, or a fever, you may want to head to the emergency room for an evaluation. But even in this situation, try not to panic. There is still a chance that the bleeding you’re experiencing is nothing to worry about.

In the meantime, be sure that you wear a pad and not a tampon so that you can keep track of how much you are bleeding. Doctors often want to know how quickly you’re filling a pad end to end. Likewise, if you pass any tissue or clots, save those if possible for the doctor to examine.

Can Bleeding During Pregnancy Be Prevented

Does Early Pregnancy Bleeding Mean a Miscarriage?

The best way to prevent any complication in pregnancy is to have a good relationship with your health care professional and to maintain close contact throughout your pregnancy. This is especially important if you have had prior pregnancies complicated by third trimester bleeding.

Avoid bleeding in pregnancy by controlling your risk factors, especially the use of tobacco and cocaine. If you have high blood pressure, work closely with your healthcare professional to keep it under control.

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What Causes Bleeding Or Spotting Later In Pregnancy

Bleeding or spotting later in pregnancy may be caused by:

  • Labor
  • Having sex
  • An internal exam by your health care provider
  • Problems with the cervix, like an infection, growths, inflammation or cervical insufficiency. This is when a womans cervix opens too early. Inflammation of the cervix is when it may be painful, swollen, red or irritated.

Bleeding or spotting later in pregnancy may be a sign of a serious problem, like:

  • Preterm labor. This is labor that happens too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Placenta previa. This is when the placenta lies very low in the uterus and covers all or part of the cervix.
  • Placenta accreta. This is when the placenta grows into the wall of the uterus too deeply.
  • Placental abruption. This is when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth.
  • Uterine rupture. This is when the uterus tears during labor. This happens very rarely. It can happen if you have a scar in the uterus from a prior cesarean birth or another kind of surgery on the uterus. A c-section is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus.

What Are The Common Reasons For Bleeding In The First Half Of Pregnancy

Since bleeding that occurs in the first half of pregnancy is so common, many wonder what the causes are besides some of the complications already mentioned.Bleeding can occur in early pregnancydue to the following factors:

  • Implantation bleeding can occur anywhere from 6-12 days after possible conception. Every woman will experience implantation bleeding differentlysome will lightly spot for a few hours, while others may have some light spotting for a couple of days.
  • Some type of infection in the pelvic cavity or urinary tract may cause bleeding.
  • After intercourse, some women may bleed, because the cervix is very tender and sensitive. You should discontinue intercourse until you have been seen by your doctor. This is to prevent any further irritationhaving normal sexual intercourse does not cause a miscarriage.

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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.

What Does Bleeding During Pregnancy Mean

What are the causes of bleeding in pregnancy? – Dr. Rashmi Chaudhary

When you experience any amount of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, your mind always jumps to the worst. Weve been there, too, so we understand the fear.

Its alarming, its unexpected, and its scary especially when you feel so helpless and want to know whats going on inside your body.

Try To Relax

So before you freak out, remember that many changes are going on in your body. Hormones are shifting, tissues are stretching, and blood flow to your uterus is increasing. So bleeding during pregnancy may also be due to a physiological process.

Read Also: Early Pregnancy Implantation Rash

Potential Causes Of Bleeding During The First Trimester

You may experience some spotting when you expect to get your period. This is called implantation bleeding and it happens around 6 to 12 days after conception as the fertilized egg implants itself in your womb. This bleeding should be light perhaps lasting for a couple of days, but its perfectly normal.

Since miscarriages are most common during the first trimester, its normal to worry about bleeding early in your pregnancy. But as Dr. Alexis Svokos, an OBGYN at Geisinger explains, Once a heartbeat is seen on an ultrasound, more than 90 percent of women who experience first trimester vaginal bleeding do not miscarry.

During pregnancy, extra blood is flowing to the cervix. Intercourse or a Pap test, which cause contact with the cervix, can trigger light bleeding.

Bleeding In The First Trimester Of Pregnancy

More serious conditions may present with bleeding during the first trimester, such as miscarriages, ectopic pregnancy, and molar pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy usually occurs between 6-8 weeks of pregnancythe fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.

Molar pregnancy, also known as gestational trophoblastic disease, is when tissue growth forms inside the womb. This condition is very rare.

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When To Worry About Spotting During Pregnancy

Spotting or bleeding during pregnancy is not expected and may be abnormal, but it is not always a cause for concern. However, it is important to contact your healthcare provider to discuss the symptoms you are experiencing. The good news is that 50% of women with bleeding during pregnancy go on to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Any spotting or bleeding in the second or third trimesters should be reported to your healthcare provider immediately. In the first trimester, spotting is somewhat more common, but should also be reported to your doctor or midwife.

Call your obstetrician especially if you notice heavy bleeding similar to a menstrual period to make sure the bleeding is not a result of pregnancy complications, such as an ectopic pregnancy. Abnormal bleeding in late pregnancy may be more serious because it can signal a complication with you or your baby. Call your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any bleeding in your second or third trimester. Your healthcare provider will most likely check for cervical polyps, and make sure your cervix is closed.

To help manage your spotting during pregnancy and to increase the probability of continuing with a healthy pregnancy, your healthcare provider may encourage you to do the following:

Threatened Or Actual Miscarriage

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A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation. Most often a miscarriage happens because the fertilized egg has complications that mean the pregnancy wont continue.

Its believed that 10-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and 80% of these end in the first trimester. The risk of miscarriage decreases once the babys heartbeat has been found on ultrasound. When you enter the second trimester, the risk drops to less than 1%.

Common signs of miscarriage include first trimester vaginal bleeding or spotting, cramping, backache, and stomach pains.

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Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All

  • Can bleeding be a sign of preterm labor?

    Late in pregnancy, vaginal bleeding may be a sign of labor. If labor starts before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is called preterm labor. Other signs of preterm labor include the following:

  • Change in vaginal discharge or increase in amount of vaginal discharge

  • Pelvic or lower abdominal pressure

  • Constant, low, dull backache

  • Mild abdominal cramps, with or without diarrhea

  • Regular or frequent contractions or uterine tightening, often painless

  • Ruptured membranes

  • How preterm labor is managed is based on what is thought to be best for your health and your fetuss health. In some cases, medications may be given. When preterm labor is too far along to be stopped or there are reasons that the baby should be born early, it may be necessary to deliver the baby.

    Article continues below

    Copyright 2021 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. Read copyright and permissions information.

    This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Read ACOGs complete disclaimer.

    Bleeding But Pregnant: What Causes Bleeding During Pregnancy

    Are you bleeding but pregnant? Do you feel your bleeding during pregnancy may be due to a miscarriage? Are you getting weak or stopped feeling pregnant? Do you notice blood clots down there? Are you worried you may be seeing your period during pregnancy?

    If you are worried about your pregnancy and these questions, then this guide will explain causes of spotting during pregnancy and how to stop it.

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    How Common Is Bleeding During Pregnancy

    Bleeding is relatively common during pregnancy. How often it occurs and the reasons behind it differ throughout the trimesters. Up to 30% of women experience bleeding during their first trimester , and as many as 20 percent of women thats one in five have bleeding at some point during their pregnancy .

    Youre most likely to experience bleeding at certain points in your pregnancy like toward the beginning to middle of the first trimester or toward the end of the third. Report to your doctor any bleeding you might notice at any point during pregnancy.

    Is It Normal To Bleed In Early Pregnancy

    Spotting and Bleeding During Pregnancy: When to Worry | Parents

    Its common to have light bleeding or spotting without pain before 12 weeks. This isnt often serious, but you should contact your doctor, midwife or Early Pregnancy Unit immediately to be checked, just in case.

    Bleeding in pregnancy after 12 weeks is not common. Contact A& E or your hospital maternity unit immediately so you can be checked.

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    Causes Of Bleeding In Late Pregnancy

    Cervical growths. Light bleeding in late pregnancy may be caused by an inflamed cervix or growths on the cervix, according to ACOG.

    Hemorrhoids. As a woman gains weight during pregnancy, hemorrhoids may develop. These are swollen veins in the rectum or anus that can sometimes rupture and cause bleeding. But hemorrhoids would not cause vaginal bleeding. Instead, a woman might see blood in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement or on toilet paper after wiping.

    Placental abruption. Heavier bleeding later in pregnancy, with blood flow comparable to a woman having her period, may indicate problems with the location of the placenta, Brown said. One common problem is a placental abruption, which is when the placenta becomes detached from the uterine wall and supplies the fetus with less oxygen. This is a serious condition that usually occurs in the third trimester, and it requires immediate medical attention.

    Placenta previa. Another reason a woman may experience vaginal bleeding, typically without any pain, is placenta previa, Brown said. This pregnancy complication is when the placenta lies too low in the uterus, and it partly or completely covers the opening to a woman’s cervix, he explained.

    Bleeding In Pregnancy When You Have Had A Previous Miscarriage

    If you have bleeding in your current pregnancy after one or more previous miscarriages, recent research has shown that progesterone can be beneficial. This research was published in 2019 and showed that the more previous miscarriages you had, the greater the benefit from progesterone treatment.

    Progesterone is a hormone that helps thicken the lining of the womb and the mothers body to accept the growing baby. It is given as pessaries and taken twice daily in the vagina .

    The study that showed that progesterone can be an effective treatment was a large, multi-centre, randomised controlled trial, which is the gold standard of research trials.

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    Tests For Bleeding Problems During Early Pregnancy

    It can take some time for your doctor to be sure of what the bleeding means. You may need a number of tests, which could include:

    • Vaginal examination to check the size of your uterus and the amount of bleeding. This examination lasts a few minutes and may be a bit uncomfortable.
    • Blood tests to check your blood type and, sometimes, the levels of pregnancy hormones in your blood.
    • Ultrasound scan gel is rubbed on your abdomen. A hand-held scanner uses sound waves to provide pictures of the pregnancy. In very early pregnancy, more information is gained by placing a small, slender scanner in the vagina. You will need to have a full bladder before the scan. An ultrasound scan takes around 15 to 20 minutes. If an ultrasound is needed, it can be arranged through the emergency department of your nearest hospital or your local doctor.

    What Causes Bleeding In Early Pregnancy

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    In most cases we do not find a reason for the bleeding and the pregnancy continues with no effect on the baby.

    However these are some reasons why vaginal bleeding may occur:

    Implantation site bleeding

    As part of the normal development the pregnancy attaches itself to the lining of your uterus . This can cause some of the blood vessels from your womb to bleed. This does not harm you or your baby and there is nothing that you need to do differently.

    Haematoma or small area of bruising

    This is also referred to as extrachorionic haemorrhage . This is seen on an ultrasound scan as a small area of bleeding near the pregnancy. If your scan shows one it will either be reabsorbed by your body or come away naturally as mild vaginal bleeding for a few weeks until it stops altogether. It does not harm you or your pregnancy.

    You do not need a repeat scan in early pregnancy to check on it. You do not need to do anything differently although avoiding heavy lifting may settle your symptoms sooner.

    Cervical erosion/ectropion

    During pregnancy an area on the neck of your womb can develop which is soft and rich in blood supply. This is a normal process but may cause bleeding. This area may be found during an internal examination.

    It is not harmful to you or your baby and you do not need to do anything differently although you may find that sexual intercourse and vigorous exercise may cause bleeding.

    Vaginal infections

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