Is Bleeding Common While Pregnant?

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Bleeding During Pregnancy

Vaginal bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy are common and may not usually lead to problems. However, bleeding occurring in the second and third trimester of pregnancy can be a sign of a possible complication. Bleeding can be caused due to a number of potential reasons.

Some basic things to know about bleeding:

  • If you are bleeding, you should always wear a pad or panty liner, in order to monitor the amount of blood lost.
  • Make sure not to introduce anything else into the vaginal area, such as douche or sexual intercourse, if you are currently experiencing bleeding.

First Half of Pregnancy:


Bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage, but does not mean that miscarriage is imminent. Studies show that 20-30% of women experience some degree of bleeding in early pregnancy and approximately 15-20% of all pregnancies result in a miscarriage, and the majority of them occur during the first 12 weeks.

Signs of Miscarriage include:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Cramping pain felt low in the stomach
  • Tissue passing through the vagina

Miscarriages are usually body’s way of dealing with an unhealthy pregnancy that was not developing. It does not mean that the future pregnancy is not possible.

Ectopic Pregnancies:

Ectopic pregnancies are those which can implant somewhere outside the uterus. The fallopian tube accounts for the majority of ectopic pregnancies and are less common occurring in about 1 out of 60 pregnancies.

Signs of Ectopic Pregnancies:

  • Cramping pain felt low in the stomach
  • Low levels of hCG
  • Sharp pain in the abdominal area
  • Vaginal bleeding

Women are at a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy if they have had:

  • A previous ectopic pregnancy
  • An infection in the tubes
  • Previous pelvic surgery

Molar Pregnancies:

Molar pregnancy often referred to as a “mole” are a rare cause of early bleeding, which involves the growth of abnormal tissue instead of an embryo. It is also referred to as gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD).

Signs of a Molar Pregnancy:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Absent fetal heart tones
  • Blood tests reveal unusually high hCG levels
  • Grape-like clusters are seen in the uterus by an ultrasound

What are common reasons for bleeding in the first half of pregnancy?

Bleeding can occur in early pregnancy due to the following factors:

  • Implantation bleeding severity vary from person to person and can occur anywhere from 6-12 days after possible conception.
  • Infection in the pelvic cavity or urinary tract may also cause bleeding.
  • Bleeding may also appear after intercourse, because the cervix is very tender and sensitive. Consult a doctor if the condition continues.

Second Half of Pregnancy:

Minor bleeding during the second half of pregnancy include an inflamed cervix or growths on the cervix. Late bleeding during pregnancy can be complicated and may pose a threat to the health of the woman or the fetus. Immediately contact the health care provider in case of bleeding in the second or third trimester of your pregnancy.

Placental Abruption:

Vaginal bleeding may be due to the placenta detaching from the uterine wall before or during labor. This condition is rare and only 1% of pregnant women are affected by this, and usually occurs during the last 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Signs of Placental Abruption:

  • Bleeding
  • Stomach pain

Women who are at higher risks for this condition include:

  • Age 35 or older
  • Already have children
  • Have had abruption before
  • High blood pressure
  • Have sickle cell anemia
  • Trauma or injuries to the stomach
  • Cocaine use

Placenta Previa:

When the placenta lies low in the uterus partly or completely covering the cervix, it may lead to placenta previa. It occurs in 1 out of 200 pregnancies and requires immediate care. Bleeding usually occurs without pain.

Women who are at higher risks for this condition include:

  • Previous cesarean birth
  • Already have children
  • Other surgery on the uterus
  • Carrying twins or triplets

Preterm Labor:

Vaginal bleeding may be considered as a sign of labor. The mucus plug may pass up to a few weeks before labor begins. This is normally made up of a small amount of mucus and blood. If it occurs earlier, it may lead to preterm labor and require immediate attention.

Signs of Preterm Labor include these symptoms that occur before the 37th week of pregnancy:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic or lower abdominal pressure
  • Stomach cramps, with or without diarrhea
  • Low, dull backache
  • Regular contractions or uterine tightening