Last updated on April 27th, 2021

One morning the unexpected happened … You spotted a few drops of blood on your underwear. Frantically you called up your doctor, told him about you bleeding during pregnancy, and a few hours later, you were at his office waiting to see him. After a thorough checkup, you were sent home with the assurance that everything was normal. But, somehow, you were not convinced. 

Bleeding is not an ordinary sign of pregnancy. What must have caused it? What if it reoccurs? Rest assured! We have the topic covered for you. Learn when bleeding is normal and when not during the nine months of childbearing. 

Bleeding During Pregnancy | First Trimester

Bleeding During Pregnancy
Bleeding During First trimester

A large number of women experience light bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy. Spotting or light bleeding is most often a symptom of implantation bleeding. Implantation is the process wherein the fertilized egg implants itself on the uterine lining. The bleeding is very light and occurs around 6 days after conception.

Miscarriage is another possible reason for bleeding during the first trimester and needs immediate medical attention. The chances of miscarriage are highest during the first trimester. But, don’t panic. Look for other symptoms such as back pain, cramping in the lower abdomen, and tissue shedding through the vagina. 

Bleeding may also occur in ectopic pregnancies. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus, usually the Fallopian tubes. An ectopic pregnancy is not retained as it could cause the Fallopian tubes to rupture, a life-threatening situation for the mother. Other symptoms are abdominal cramps and lightheadedness. 

The next cause of bleeding during gestation is a molar pregnancy. It is also called gestational trophoblastic disease. The condition is characterized by the growth of abnormal tissue in the uterus. Very rarely, the tissue is malignant. Other symptoms of molar pregnancy are rapid and sudden development of the uterus and severe vomiting. 

Sexual intercourse may also cause bleeding in the first trimester. This type of bleeding is not a cause of concern. Pregnancy increases the supply of blood throughout the body. The cervix, too, is crowded with sensitive blood vessels. Sex triggers bleeding. Sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tracts infection, cervical and vaginal infections may also cause bleeding.

Bleeding During Pregnancy | Second and Third Trimester

Bleeding During Pregnancy
Bleeding During second trimester

Bleeding in the second and third trimesters is a symptom of a more serious pregnancy complication.

Bleeding in the later stages of pregnancy may occur due to placental conditions such a placental previa and placental abruption. Placenta previa is a condition wherein the placenta covers the opening of the cervix partially or wholly. Placental is a pregnancy condition wherein the placenta separates from the uterine wall. Placental abruption can be a life threatening situation for both the mother and the baby. The bleeding is heavy and intense. 

Vaginal bleeding in the later stages of pregnancy could also be an indication of labor. As you near your due date, the cervix softens and dilates. This causes slight bleeding. The mucus plug unplugs, and you may notice a bloody discharge on your underpants. If it is before the 37th week of pregnancy, it is a sign of preterm labor and needs medical attention.

You should see your health care provider immediately if bleeding is heavy or the next day if it is light spotting. Make a note of changes such as the color of the blood and the amount. The doctor will conduct a series of tests to determine the exact cause. 

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