Navigating Uncertainties – A Closer Look at Bleeding and Spotting During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a rollercoaster ride, where you get to experience boundless joy and anticipation, but you also cannot escape moments of concern and trepidation. 

The moment you see slight bleeding or spotting during pregnancy, your apprehensions loom large. Don’t let your anxiety kick in yet. 

Read on to understand the intricacies of bleeding and spotting during pregnancy – the underlying causes, implications, and when to seek medical help.

Bleeding and spotting during pregnancy

First things first. You need to understand that some bleeding and spotting during pregnancy is normal, especially in the first trimester. 1 in 4 women experience spotting during the first trimester.

So, relax!

However, sometimes they could imply something serious. So approach your doctor when you do have increased bleeding immediately and notify them even when you notice mild spotting as you move into the second and third trimesters. They will evaluate you to eliminate serious complications.

Spotting Vs Bleeding

Spotting: Light, minimal bleeding, pink to light red, often seen as a few drops or light staining, and generally not heavy like a regular period. It is entirely normal and you won’t even require a sanitary product.

Bleeding: Heavier and more substantial discharge of blood, comparable to or exceeding a regular menstrual period, which is abnormal. You may require the use of sanitary products.

What causes bleeding and spotting during early pregnancy?

There are various reasons you could have vaginal bleeding, some of them more serious than the rest.

  1. Spotting in the first trimester

As discussed, spotting is very frequent in the first trimester. These are mostly due to the following reasons,

  • Spotting may occur during implantation, when the fertilised egg attaches to the uterine lining, around 6-12 days after conception.
  • Increased blood flow to the cervix during pregnancy can lead to minor bleeding or spotting. Also, the remnants of old endometrium may find their way out which appears brownish.
  • Rapid changes in hormones during early pregnancy can cause light spotting.
  • Since your vagina is highly sensitive, you might bleed after your pelvic examination or transvaginal ultrasound.
  • Having sex could induce spotting.
  • Occasionally it can be due to an infection which can be treated with a safe antibiotic.

However, They might mean serious issues as well like,

  • Ectopic pregnancy: When the embryo fails to implant in the uterus and happens elsewhere, most frequently in the fallopian tube. An ectopic pregnancy is very dangerous for the parent and has to be treated immediately.
  • Chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage: It is the pregnancy loss that occurs before 20 weeks, usually starting with light bleeding and then progressing into a period-like flow with cramping.
  • Molar pregnancy: A rare condition where a tumour develops in the uterus as a result of non-viable pregnancy.

2. Spotting or bleeding in the second and third trimesters

Like early pregnancy, cervical changes, sex, pelvic exam, and infections might cause bleeding and spotting during pregnancy in the later stages as well. 

Although spotting is common, you are not likely to experience bleeding during pregnancy in the second and third trimesters as commonly as the first. So, in case you do have bleeding, be cautious and report to your doctor asap. 

It could be due to,

  • Placenta previa: Placenta partially or fully covers the cervix, leading to bleeding as the cervix dilates.
  • Placental Abruption: Separation of the placenta from the uterine wall, causing bleeding and potential complications.
  • Preterm labour: Contractions and cervical changes leading to early labour can cause bleeding.
  • Vasa previa: Blood vessels from the umbilical cord cross the cervix, leading to bleeding if ruptured.
  • Uterine rupture: Rare, but can occur in previous C-section scars, causing severe bleeding.
  • Stillbirth or miscarriage: Loss of baby in the uterus after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

What to do when you have bleeding and spotting during pregnancy

If you experience bleeding and spotting during pregnancy, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor right away. And, don’t panic. 

Your treatment will depend on the cause and you will need medical examinations and tests. But, if you progress to have a normal pregnancy, rest well. Stay off your feet for a while and avoid having sex or using tampons/cups. 

But, if the bleeding is heavy, you might be hospitalised and require medical intervention. You might also need surgery.

Bottom line

Hope this blog helps you with information regarding bleeding and spotting during pregnancy. Harness this knowledge to make informed decisions when in need. Be prepared to embrace the beauty of pregnancy with its complexities.

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