Waiting for nine months to see the face of your baby is by itself nerve wrecking. Now on top of that, if you happen to notice any bleeding or spotting, it will drive any pregnant woman crazy. But rather than getting alarmed in such a situation, it is better to get yourself equipped about the causes for this bleeding and what needs to be done.
Vaginal bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy is common and may not be a sign of problems. But, bleeding that occurs in the second and third trimester of pregnancy can often be a sign of a possible complication. Bleeding can be caused by some potential reasons.
Any type of bleeding is terrifying during pregnancy, even for the most level-headed mom-to-be. Spotting often poses no threat to mum or baby and it pretty common as it occurs in nearly one-third of all pregnancies. Spotting can also occur when pregnant women have sexual intercourse. Bleeding can also occur for reasons that have nothing to do with pregnancy, such as infections or tears to the vaginal wall.
But bleeding is also an indication of any complication that might have happened. This can be a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or placenta previa and thus should never be ignored. You must get in touch with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any bleeding.
Some women may have spotting called as “implantation bleeding” that can occur before they even know they’re pregnant, about a week or so after they ovulate. This process (which is known as implantation) begins just six days after fertilisation. But no one knows what really induces bleeding at this time.
Bleeding is the first sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (when the embryo implants outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes). This usually occurs in the first trimester and is accompanied by abdominal pain or cramping. An ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening. So you have to get in touch with your doctor immediately if you have bleeding or pain in your first trimester. Up to a quarter of pregnant women have some bleeding in early pregnancy, and about half of these women miscarry. But if you have an ultrasound that shows a normal heartbeat between 7 and 11 weeks, your chances of continuing the pregnancy are greater than 90 percent.
Molar pregnancy (which is also called as a gestational trophoblastic disease) is a very rare condition in which abnormal tissue grows inside the uterus instead of a baby. In rare cases, the tissue is cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body. Other symptoms of molar pregnancy are severe nausea and vomiting, and rapid enlargement of the uterus.
Spotting or bleeding can also occur due to conditions unrelated to pregnancy. A vaginal infection (such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis) or a sexually transmitted infection (such as trichomoniasis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, or herpes) can cause your cervix to become irritated or inflamed. An inflamed cervix is particularly prone to bleeding after sex or a Pap smear.
There will be increased blood flow to your cervix during pregnancy, so it’s not unusual to notice spotting after intercourse. A cervical polyp (a benign growth on the cervix) can also cause spotting or bleeding after sex.
You may have to spot after you’ve had a Pap smear or internal exam for the same reasons – greater blood flow to the cervix or a cervical polyp.
Placenta previa happens when the placenta lies low in the uterus partly or fully covering the cervix. It is dangerous and requires immediate care. In this case, bleeding usually occurs without pain.
Vaginal bleeding may be caused by the placenta detaching from the uterine wall before or during labour. Only a very small fraction of pregnant women experience this, and it usually occurs during the last 12 weeks of pregnancy. Signs include bleeding and pain.
Bleeding can occur when a scar from a previous C-section tears open during pregnancy. Uterine rupture can be life-threatening and requires an emergency C-section.
Vaginal bleeding may be a symptom of labour. Up to a few weeks, before labour starts, the mucus plug may pass. This is normally made up of a small amount of mucus and blood. If it occurs earlier, you could be entering preterm labour and should see your physician immediately. Signs include vaginal discharge (watery, mucus, or bloody), pelvic or lower abdominal pressure, low, dull backache, stomach cramps, with or without diarrhoea, regular contractions or uterine tightening.