No doubt that the slightest sight of vaginal blood would make the calmest mom-to-be panic. Spotting or light bleeding is pretty common especially in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, approximately 20% of women report that they encounter spotting during their first trimester.
Spotting and bleeding: What’s okay and what’s not?
It’s very important to differentiate between spotting and bleeding. While bleeding can be described as heavy flow, spotting is a lighter form of bloody vaginal discharge. It could be a few drops or as unnoticeable as a pinkish shade on a toilet paper. While it’s quite common for pregnant women to experience spotting, bleeding during pregnancy can also refer to an underlying serious issue.
Reasons for spotting or bleeding during the first trimester
It basically happens between the 6th – 12th day of conception, and it’s a sign that the fertilized egg was implanted in the lining of the uterus. It’s usually very light bleeding. It lasts for a few hours to days. There’s nothing to worry about in this scenario.
Bleeding during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy could be a sign of a potential miscarriage, especially that miscarriage is more likely to happen during the first trimester.
An ectopic pregnancy happens when the fertilized egg implants and grows outside the uterus (usually in the fallopian tube). It’s not possible for ectopic pregnancy to continue. This condition causes bleeding during pregnancy, and if left untreated, the bleeding could lead to death.
Another cause of bleeding during pregnancy is having a rare condition called “Molar pregnancy” which is basically the growth of abnormal tissues inside the uterus. The formation of the fetus doesn’t take place at all, yet if it does, the fetus doesn’t survive.
Intercourse or vaginal test
Due to the cervical changes that take place during the first trimester, sexual intercourse or a vaginal test can trigger bleeding during the early stages of pregnancy.
Bleeding at the beginning of pregnancy could be due to a cervical or vaginal infection or due to a sexually transmitted disease.
Reasons for bleeding during the second and third trimesters
Placenta previa happens when the placenta lies low in the uterus and covers the cervical opening whether partially or completely.
Placental abruption is the condition where the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus at an early stage and causes bleeding. This can endanger the mother and the baby.
Bleeding before the 37th week could be a sign that the body is ready to go into preterm labor.
This is a rare condition that happens when the caesarian scar of a previous delivery opens during pregnancy.
This is a very rare but serious condition that happens when the fetal umbilical cord blood vessels get very close to the cervical opening. This could lead the blood vessels to rupture, and as a result, the baby could severely bleed and lose oxygen.
Though bleeding during the second and third trimesters can reflect a more serious issue, if you experience bleeding at any point during your pregnancy, you need to inform your gynecologist immediately in order to receive the needed medical attention and avoid complications.
Further reading: What You Need to Know About Pregnancy Leg Cramps