Bleeding During Pregnancy, What Is Normal And When You Should See A Doctor

by | August 30, 2018

While spotting or bleeding during pregnancy is not always a cause for concern, it’s absolutely alarming regardless if you figured it might happen. Know the reasons why we bleed sometimes, and how to be able to know if it’s serious and needs immediate attention, or if it can wait until your next medical appointment.

bleeding during pregnancy

The great news is that while it’s pretty scary when it happens, spotting or light bleeding in the early days of pregnancy is not usually a cause for alarm. A lot of women experience spotting.

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“The vast majority of spotting is harmless,” says Alyssa Stephenson-Famy, M.D., Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist at the University of Washington, Seattle. But bleeding, no matter how scant, can be indicative of a variety of complications, including miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and placenta previa, and thus should never be ignored. Here are the various reasons you may experience bleeding during pregnancy, when to know whether you should call your doctor, and tips for effectively communicating your symptoms to your healthcare provider.

Causes of bleeding during pregnancy 

Implantation bleeding

When you’re four weeks pregnant, and when most of us have no idea yet, the fertilized egg will attach itself to the uterine walls. In doing so, it is ‘implanting’ and will cause implantation bleeding. So if you’re actively trying to get pregnant, and notice spots of blood around ten days after sex, it could possibly be implantation bleeding and nothing to worry about, with possibly something to celebrate!

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Infection

Infections such as chlamydia or herpes can cause light bleeding. It is always best to have it checked on by a medical professional and have the infection treated. 

Exams by your doctors 

Getting an exam by a doctor is sometimes uncomfortable, and can cause some light spotting within the day after the exam. If bleeding during pregnancy continues after that, I would suggest giving them a call and double checking.

Sometimes bleeding during the first half of your pregnancy can be a sign of a more serious condition, however, such as:

  • Subchorionic hemorrhage, which is bleeding around the placenta. Although it is possible to continue with a normal pregnancy after this type of bleeding occurs, prompt diagnosis and treatment are vital. “Most subchorionic hemorrhages resolve, but it does put the woman at an increased risk for other complications such as preterm labor,” Dr. Stephenson-Famy says.
  • Chemical pregnancy, which occurs when an egg is fertilized but never fully implants in the uterus.
  • Miscarriage (either threatened or imminent), which is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy in the first 20 weeks. Often, the bleeding or spotting that occurs during a miscarriage will be accompanied by other symptoms, such as cramping or abdominal pain.
  • Ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, most often in a fallopian tube. Sometimes called a tubal pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy cannot progress normally and may be life-threatening to the mother if left undiagnosed.
  • Molar pregnancy, a nonviable pregnancy characterized by an abnormal growth on the placenta, and, usually, an abnormal fetus.
  • Source. parents.com
bleeding during pregnancy

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