Generally, we tend to wait for 6-10 weeks before announcing a pregnancy. It is a time of a lot of anxiety and questions but we wait for right time to spill the beans. And the moment you see red spots in your undergarment or while peeing, you certainly panic and get concerned.
While bleeding or spotting during pregnancy is not abnormal, it's certainly unexpected. Bleeding that occurs early on in pregnancy is usually lighter in flow than a menstrual period. Also, the color often varies from pink to red to brown.
Although it is easy to be concerned, don’t panic. The majority of women who experiencing spotting during pregnancy go on to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
What is spotting (bleeding during the first trimester)?
Bleeding during pregnancy is common, especially during the first trimester (first 12 weeks), and usually, it's no cause for alarm. It is not heavy like a menstrual period and doesn’t last for days. But it can sometimes be a sign of something serious so it is important to know the possible causes and get checked out by your doctor to make sure you and your baby are healthy.
What are the causes of bleeding?
There are many possible causes of light spotting during the first trimester. Some of which are:
within first 6-12 days the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus. This is the time when most of the women experience bleeding. As women are unsure about pregnancy, they think of it as a light menstrual period. Every woman will experience implantation bleeding differently. Some will lightly spot for a few hours, while others may have some light spotting for a couple of days.
2. Cervical changes:
Pregnancy hormones can cause changes to the cervix, which can sometimes cause bleeding. The cervix gets an increased blood supply and becomes softer. The normal hormone production during pregnancy can cause changes to the cervix, rendering it softer and more prone to bleeding. Also, a cervical polyp (a benign overgrowth of tissue) may form, and this may bleed more easily during pregnancy. Sexual intercourse is also one of the reasons that your cervix may be subjected to bleeding.
A vaginal infection may cause spontaneous vaginal bleeding. The bleeding may be accompanied by an abnormal vaginal discharge.
Should I be worried about any mishap due to bleeding?
Bleeding can sometimes be a sign of something more serious. To list a few complications:
As it is common during the first 12-20 weeks of conception, bleeding must not be ignored. Bleeding, abdominal pain and back pain are common signs of miscarriage. If the cervix stays close, the miscarriage can be avoided with proper medical attention.
2. Ectopic pregnancy:
The baby gets implanted in the abdomen or fallopian tube rather than uterus. But as the baby is not able to survive anywhere other than the uterus, the tube or egg bursts and results in bleeding. It requires immediate medical attention.
3. Molar pregnancy:
It is the growth of abnormal tissue within the uterus. The fetus is typically consumed by the abnormal growth of tissue in the uterus, and a molar pregnancy cannot result in a normal fetus or delivery. Vaginal spotting or bleeding can be a symptom of molar pregnancy.
What if the bleeding is seen in the second or third trimester?
Bleeding or spotting later in pregnancy can be due to a number of causes. Having sex or even having an internal (pelvic) examination by your OB/GYN can cause light bleeding. Problems with the cervix, including cervical insufficiency (when the cervix opens too early in pregnancy) or infection of the cervix, can lead to bleeding. More serious causes of bleeding in later pregnancy include placenta previa, preterm labor, uterine rupture, or placental abruption.
What to do when I notice bleeding?
Although bleeding is not always a sign of complication, it is always better to rule out any possibility of it by contacting the doctor and getting checked. With proper and immediate guidance even miscarriage can be avoided.
Notice the time and duration of bleeding.
Always use a sanitary napkin and never tampon, to know about color and amount of flow. This information is very useful for doctors.
While waiting to be seen by your doctor, try to sit down, put your feet up, and drink a large glass of water.