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Spotting during pregnancy

Spotting during pregnancy

Is this experience normal..?

Bleeding or spotting during pregnancy is very common, especially if this happens during the first trimester. However, since bleeding can sometimes be considered as a sign of something that is serious, it is important to know what has caused it. Thus, it is always advisable to seek medical help to make sure that you and your baby are healthy.

Bleeding During the First Trimester of the Pregnancy

Bleeding or spotting during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is fairly common. In fact, about 20 percent of women experience this. There are several possible causes of bleeding during the first trimester. These causes include:

  • Implantation Bleeding. This type of bleeding may be experienced within the first 10 to 14 days after conception. This happens when the fertilized egg embeds itself on the uterine lining. This type of bleeding is very light and may last for several hours to a few days. Some women often do not realize that they are pregnant because they mistake this bleeding for a light period.
  • Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of pregnancy occurring before the 20th week of the pregnancy. This typically occurs during the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy. This is considered as one of the biggest issues when it comes to first trimester bleeding. In fact, about half the number of women who bleed in pregnancy eventually miscarry.
  • However, it is important to take note that this does not mean that if you are bleeding, you already have lost the baby, especially when you do not experience any other symptoms. The bleeding associated with miscarriage is typically accompanied with strong cramps occurring on the lower abdomen as well as tissues passing through the vagina.
  • Ectopic Pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a condition when the embryo or fertilized egg embeds outside the uterus. The embryo in such cases usually implants itself in one of the fallopian tubes. This condition is considered life threatening. Thus, it is important that you report any pain or bleeding experienced during the first trimester. Bleeding associated with ectopic pregnancies are accompanied with strong cramps in the lower abdomen as well as light-headedness.
  • Molar Pregnancy. Molar pregnancy is a rare occurrence. This condition is characterized with an abnormal mass forming inside the uterus after fertilization instead of the baby. This condition is also known as gestational trophoblastic disease. In addition to bleeding, other symptoms may also be experienced like rapid uterine enlargement and severe nausea and vomiting.

Additional Causes of Bleeding Occurring in Early Pregnancy

In addition to the above mentioned causes of bleeding in early pregnancy, there are other conditions that may cause bleeding as well during the first few weeks of the pregnancy.

  • Cervical Changes. Problems with the cervix during pregnancy can cause bleeding. These problems may include cervical infection, abnormal growths on the cervix, and cervical inflammation. Since the cervix receives extra blood flow during pregnancy, anything that comes in contact with it can trigger bleeding like a Pap Smear or sexual intercourse.
  • Infection. Any infection in the vagina like bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection and sexually transmitted disease like herpes, chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause bleeding in the first trimester, as this can cause the cervix to become irritated or inflamed.
  • Internal Examination or Pap Smear. After a pap smear or an internal examination, bleeding may be experienced because of the greater blood flow to the cervix.

Spotting or bleeding during pregnancy can be a scary experience. However, this is not always a sign of trouble. Regardless, it is still important to take any form of bleeding during pregnancy seriously. There are instances when spotting or bleeding indicates a serious condition that requires prompt treatment. Thus, you should contact your health care provider right away if you experience such.

Spotting in the Second Trimester and Third Trimester

Spotting or bleeding in late pregnancy is more of a concern as this can signal a problem with the baby or mother. It is important to contact your health care provider right away if you experience bleeding in the second or third trimester of your pregnancy.

There are several possible causes of bleeding in late pregnancy. These causes include:

  • Placenta Previa. This is a condition characterized by the implantation of the placenta in the lower part of the uterus. The placenta may partially or completely cover the opening of the birth canal. A bleeding placenta previa, though painless, is considered a medical emergency and this requires immediate medical attention.
  • Placenta Abruption. This is a condition wherein the placenta detaches from the uterine wall before or during labor. This condition is very dangerous to both the mother and the baby. In addition to bleeding, this condition comes with other symptoms like abdominal pain, tender uterus, vaginal clots, and back pain.
  • Uterine Rupture. A uterine rupture can cause bleeding. In rare cases, a previous C-section scar can tear open during a pregnancy. This is a life threatening situation and requires immediate medical attention. In addition to bleeding, pain and abdominal tenderness may also be experienced.
  • Premature Labor. Bleeding or spotting late in pregnancy may be a sign of premature labor. This type of labor occurs if the symptoms of labor start before the 37th week of pregnancy. When this happens, it is important to contact your health care provider right away. In addition to bleeding, symptoms like vaginal discharge, uterine contractions, lower abdominal ache, and abdominal pressure may be felt.

Contact Your Health Care Provider Right Away

When you experience any form of spotting or bleeding in any trimester, it is important to contact your health care provider right away. You should also consider wearing a pad so you can determine how much you are bleeding and record the type of bleeding that you experienced. However, if you have already reached 37 weeks in your pregnancy and you start to bleed, this may be a sign of labor. This time, you need to prepare for the delivery of the baby.