Bleeding During Pregnancy

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It is not something we expect when we are pregnant, but it happens; and when it does, it’s terrifying. Bleeding during pregnancy isn't too uncommon for the first 12 weeks, up to about a week before delivery. Its commonness, however, does not make it any more comforting. Bleeding doesn't always indicate a definite problem, but it can lead to learning that something isn't quite right.

Keep reading for a list of the most common reasons for why one would experience pregnancy bleeding. You can click on the links to learn more about each one in detail.

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Placenta Previa

Typically, the placenta attaches itself somewhere within the upper-half of the uterus. However, in the case of placenta previa, the placenta slides down to the bottom of the uterus and covers the cervix, causing mild bleeding. Bright red blood that is emitted painlessly will be the indication that the placenta may be partially covering (in some cases completely covering) the cervix. The most common time for this to happen is at week 32.

{ MORE: What Placenta Previa Means }

Oftentimes, this condition won’t cause any problems besides the bleeding. At other times, however, this could make vaginal birth impossible, making it necessary for a C-section.

 

sperm attack

Implantation Bleeding

While the egg is trying to attach itself to the uterine wall, bleeding can occur (around three weeks after conception). In comparison to the bleeding during a normal menstrual cycle, implantation bleeding is typically lighter in color and is present earlier than usual. 

Stress at pregnant woman. Problems, sad, depression woman.

Miscarriage

Bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage, whether it is early or late in the pregnancy, and is often accompanied by abdominal pain. In addition to blood, excess tissue may be emitted. Sometimes it is necessary for the cervix to be dilated in order to scrape out any tissue that wasn’t emitted by the body. This is called Dilation and Curettage or, as it is often referred to, a D & C.

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Ectopic or Tubal Pregnancy

Sometimes a fertilized egg will get itself stuck in a fallopian tube during its journey to the uterus. As you know, a fertilized egg is supposed to attach itself to the uterus, so when the egg hits a rut and lands anywhere other than the uterus, problems are bound to occur. As the fetus begins to develop in a fallopian tube, the mother’s life becomes endangered because of the eventual outcome of bursting organs. Obviously, from this complication, internal bleeding will present. Despite the baby’s growth within the fallopian tube, a live birth is impossible.

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Infections

Sometimes, pregnancy bleeding can lead to a discovery of an infection within the uterus or cervix. The reason for these infections can be traced to the constant change in hormone levels, leaving the body open to infections in the urinary system, as well as anywhere within the pelvic area.

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Placental Abruption

Placental abruption is just as traumatic as it sounds. Usually not happening before the twentieth week of pregnancy, this condition occurs when the placenta tears away from the uterus, creating the possibility of placental previa. In addition to it being dangerous, it also causes heavy bleeding.

labor & delivery

Preterm Labor

Preterm labor — labor that occurs at 37 weeks or earlier — gives the mother the “heads up” that the baby is ready by emitting blood and mucous, which is sometimes accompanied by either an increase or decrease in vaginal discharge. Along with the bleeding and emission of other fluids, cramps and aches may be present in the pelvic area or lower back. 

hospital sign

In the event of spotting or heavy bleeding during pregnancy, you must contact you doctor right away and get an accurate diagnosis of what is causing it. Here are some things you should let your doctor know:

Your doctor needs to know how much you are bleeding. 

  • Was it heavy or spotted?
  • Did you pass tissue?
  • Were there any clots?
  • How long did you bleed for?

Your doctor needs to know how you are feeling.

  • Do you have any back pain?
  • Do you have pain in your abdominal area?
  • Are you running a fever?
  • Are you having any contractions?

Keep in mind that the more detailed your information is, the easier it will be for your doctor to determine what is occurring.

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Bleeding During Pregnancy

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22 comments

  1. Profile photo of cassie cassie says:

    So the situation I’m in: I started spotting about 3 weeks after I found out I was pregnant, with my LMP on June 6, so my due date was estimated about March 13. I started monitoring my discharge and about two weeks after I started spotting, bleeding started so I went to the ER since my dr office was already closed. The baby still had a strong beartbeat and levels were good so they diagnosed me as having a threatened miscarriage/abortion. I contacted my dr the next day and got an appt. So, dr didnt know why I was bleeding and put me on strict bed rest. The following week, another ultrasound and everything was good with baby but I had expressed to the ultrasound tech that there has to be something causing the bleeding so she did a through check(as all the ultrasound tech did thorough jobs) but was finally able to detect a tear along my placenta where it had not fully attached (or perhaps has begun to detach, not too sure) so I’m still on bed rest. HOWEVER, dr said within the next few weeks my body will decide to mend the issue or I will miscarry….sucks to have to be on the fence right? Last week, the ultrasound tech said the baby was measuring to be due around March 22 but the dr didnt say anything about the change so I’ll have to ask this Friday. Imagine not knowing what the outcome is going to be and to have already seen my blessing waving its little hand telling me, “Mommy, I’m okay for now.” So with A lot of praying and riding on faith and letting God’s will be done; I wait patiently. Sorry if I’ve upset anybody.

    • Profile photo of Megan KlayEditor Megan Klay says:

      Please don’t apologize for sharing your story with us, Cassie! As a mom who has suffered a miscarriage, my heart goes out to you in an understanding way. I’ll be thinking about you and your baby and hoping he/she holds strong!

  2. Profile photo of Pauline Pauline says:

    I’m 16 weeks and 3 days. I had some light bleeding early on in my pregnancy but it stopped without an issue. Then at 14 weeks I had more bleeding and went to the ER.The doctor at the ER told me I had a sub chorionic bleed and needed bed rest and to make an appointment with my OB ASAP. My OB did an ultra sound and didn’t find any bleed and told me bed rest was not needed. This is baby number 2 and although that pregnancy was rough I never had a bleeding problem. Has anyone else had this problem?

  3. Profile photo of Squiggles Squiggles says:

    This is an interesting article but I wish it were a little more informative. At 6 weeks I started bleeding. I went in and found out I was pregnant with twins but one didn’t look good. The next week at my obgyn appt they said one twin failed to form and that was why I was bleeding but the other fetus had a heartbeat. I had to get shots of progesterone and am taking pills to keep my uterine lining from “cleaning things out”. They are concerned that the miscarried baby will take out the healthy one when the sack tries to come out. I haven’t had any more bleeding and I haven’t excreted the empty sack. Next appointment on Monday to see where things are at. Why aren’t there more articles about this type of situation or the vanishing twin phenomenon???

  4. Profile photo of Marie Marie says:

    I’m 7 weeks , and started spotting last week , went to er ,took blood ,and they sd to go to my ob , took blood twice this week hormone level increasing very slowly , but stopped spotting yesterday . Go to ob again next Tuesday

  5. Profile photo of Kay Kay says:

    Definitely scary! I’ve had bleeding go both ways…miscarriage and healthy pregnancy. Best to keep hope until you know, but take it easy and be ready for anything.

  6. Profile photo of Sonia Sonia says:

    its very scary ! i hadd bleeding during the 1 month and i got scared and the doctor told me to rest and rest but i was scared

  7. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    I had some at 16 weeks and was advised for bed rest for 3 days with medication. It was like an old blood though. It happened again on my 3rd trimester and same advice I got. Both of us were fine and she’s turning 1 next month!

  8. Profile photo of Chaunte Chaunte says:

    I just found out I was 5 weeks pregnant. Out youngest son just turned 1 on the 7th of February. I am having some bleeding. Its not heavy. Just a little here and there. I went to the Er. They told me to see my OB asap. I am so scared. I am not cramping, but I just don’t want anything to happen to my baby. Is it normal to bleed like this? I didn’t with my 1st three children.

    • Profile photo of Megan KlayEditor Megan Klay says:

      Hi Chaunte – This is likely just late implantation bleeding. If you were miscarrying the amount of blood would be similar to a period or worse. But, you should still get in to see your OB so that they can run some tests. Best wishes!

  9. My good friend just had this happen to her on Friday. She had to have an emergency c-section at 27 weeks, but when her sweet baby came out, they weren’t able to get her to breath. Our hearts are broken. If any of you have gone through this, I’ll be praying for you.

  10. Profile photo of kimberly kimberly says:

    i am 14 weeks and 6 days…..i recently moved this week and purposely packed little, light boxes to help my husband with the moving process. after three days in a row and multiple trips back and forth (which was 2 hours round trip) i started light bleeding……i realized i was doing too much (like my husband told me i was)……..once i rested and took it easy it stopped. it wasnt a lot but it was the first and it scared the hell out of me

  11. Profile photo of Grace Grace says:

    i am experiencing slight bleeding and every time i’m worried

  12. Profile photo of Destiny Destiny says:

    durring my last pregnancy i bled for the first 4 months….the drs all told me that they had no idea why and that there was too much bleeding for my child to survive and that it may kill me as well if i dont abort…I told her i couldnt in good conscience do that and took the bed rest option. After 4months the bleeding stopped and even though the problems didnt stop along with it I now have a beautiful daughter that will be 2 soon…dont over stress yourself if you are having these problems. Do what I did and be too stubborn to believe it will be problematic.

  13. Profile photo of liz says:

    Very good article

  14. Profile photo of Ian Ian says:

    Interesting article.

  15. Profile photo of dana dana says:

    I bled up until my 23rd wk but I didn’t know I was pregnant with my last child. back in 2008 I bled bad and that was the baby I lost. I don’t know what hurts worse a miscarriage or normal labor

  16. Profile photo of Mrs. Wing Mrs. Wing says:

    I have bleeding. but thats because i fell on my stomach. The doctor told me to be on bed rest during the weekend and call to make an appointment next week.

  17. Profile photo of gfeld gfeld says:

    Scary but very informative.

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