Bleeding and spotting from the vagina during pregnancy
In This Topic
Bleeding and spotting from the vagina during pregnancy are common
If you bleed or spot during pregnancy, it doesn’t always mean there’s a problem but in some cases they may be signs of a problem for you or your baby’s health
If you have heavy bleeding, call your health care provider right away
Tell your provider about any bleeding or spotting you have during pregnancy
Bleeding and spotting from the vagina during pregnancy are common. Up to 1 out of 4 (up to 25%) of all pregnant women have some bleeding or spotting during their pregnancy.
Bleeding and spotting in pregnancy don’t always mean there’s a problem, but they can be a sign of miscarriage or other serious complications. Miscarriage is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Call your health care provider if you have any bleeding or spotting, even if it stops. It may not be caused by anything serious, but your provider needs to find out what’s causing it.
What’s the difference between bleeding and spotting?
Bleeding or spotting can happen anytime, from the time you get pregnant to right before you give birth. Spotting is light bleeding. It happens when you have a few drops of blood on your underwear. Spotting is so light that the blood wouldn’t cover a panty liner. Bleeding is when the blood flow is heavier, enough that you need a panty liner or pad to keep the blood from soaking your underwear and clothes.
What should you do if you have bleeding or spotting during pregnancy?
Call your health care provider if you have any kind of bleeding during pregnancy and do these things:
Keep track of how heavy your bleeding is, if it gets heavier or lighter, and how many pads you are using.
Check the color of the blood. Your provider may want to know. It can be different colors, like brown, dark or bright red.
Don’t use a tampon, douche or have sex when you’re bleeding.
Call your health care provider right away at any time during pregnancy or go to the emergency room if you have:
Bleeding with pain or cramping
Dizziness and bleeding
Pain in your belly or pelvis
What causes bleeding or spotting early in pregnancy?
It’s normal to have some spotting or bleeding early in pregnancy. Bleeding or spotting in the first trimester may not be a problem. It can be caused by:
Implantation. When a fertilized egg (embryo) attaches to the lining of the uterus (womb) and begins to grow.
Hormone changes. Hormones are chemicals made by the body.
Changes in your cervix. The cervix is opening to the uterus that sits at the top of the vagina.
Certain types of testing during pregnancy like an amniocentesis or Chorionic villus sampling (CVS). These are tests that are done to check for genetic abnormalities in your baby. Genetic abnormalities are changes in the genes that are passed down to a baby from mom or dad. These genetic changes can cause health problems for a baby.
Problems related to smoking. If you smoke, it’s best to stop before pregnancy or as soon as you know you’re pregnant.
Sometimes bleeding or spotting in the first trimester is a sign of a serious problem, like:
Miscarriage. Almost all women who miscarry have bleeding or spotting before the miscarriage.
Ectopic pregnancy. This is when a fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus and begins to grow. An ectopic pregnancy cannot result in the birth of a baby. It can cause serious, dangerous problems for the pregnant woman.
Molar pregnancy. This is when a mass of tissue forms inside the womb, instead of a baby. Molar pregnancy is rare.
What causes bleeding or spotting later in pregnancy?
Bleeding or spotting later in pregnancy may be caused by:
An internal exam by your health care provider
Problems with the cervix, like an infection, growths, inflammation or cervical insufficiency. This is when a woman’s cervix opens too early. Inflammation of the cervix is when it may be painful, swollen, red or irritated.
Bleeding or spotting later in pregnancy may be a sign of a serious problem, like:
Preterm labor. This is labor that happens too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Placenta previa. This is when the placenta lies very low in the uterus and covers all or part of the cervix.
Placenta accreta. This is when the placenta grows into the wall of the uterus too deeply.
Placental abruption. This is when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth.
Uterine rupture. This is when the uterus tears during labor. This happens very rarely. It can happen if you have a scar in the uterus from a prior cesarean birth (also called c-section) or another kind of surgery on the uterus. A c-section is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus.
How are bleeding and spotting treated?
Your treatment depends on what caused your bleeding. You may need a medical exam and tests. Most of the time, treatment for bleeding or spotting is rest. Your provider may also suggest treatments like:
Take time off from work and stay off your feet for a little while
You may need medicine to help protect your baby from Rh disease. Rh disease is when your blood and baby’s blood are incompatible (can’t be together). This disease can cause serious problems — even death — for your baby.
Don’t have sex, douche or use tampons
If you have heavy bleeding, you may need a hospital stay or surgery
Last reviewed: April 2020
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Vaginal Bleeding and Blood Clots During Pregnancy
Written by Stephanie Watson
In this Article
Bleeding in the First Trimester
Bleeding in the Second and Third Trimesters
What to Do If You Have Abnormal Bleeding During Pregnancy
Bleeding during pregnancy is common, especially during the first trimester, and usually it's no cause for alarm. But because bleeding can sometimes be a sign of something serious, it's important to know the possible causes, and get checked out by your doctor to make sure you and your baby are healthy.
Bleeding in the First Trimester
About 20% of women have some bleeding during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Possible causes of first trimester bleeding include:
Implantation bleeding. You may experience some normal spotting within the first six to 12 days after you conceive as the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus. Some women don't realize they are pregnant because they mistake this bleeding for a light period. Usually the bleeding is very light and lasts from a few hours to a few days.
Miscarriage. Because miscarriage is most common during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, it tends to be one of the biggest concerns with first trimester bleeding. However, first trimester bleeding does not necessarily mean that you’ve miscarried or will miscarry. In fact, if a heartbeat is seen on ultrasound, over 90% of women who experience first trimester vaginal bleeding will not miscarry.
Other symptoms of miscarriage are strong cramps in the lower abdomen and tissue passing through the vagina.
Ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized embryo implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. If the embryo keeps growing, it can cause the fallopian tube to burst, which can be life-threatening to the mother. Although ectopic pregnancy is potentially dangerous, it only occurs in about 2% of pregnancies.
Other symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are strong cramps or pain in the lower abdomen, and lightheadedness.
Molar pregnancy (also called gestational trophoblastic disease). This 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.
Additional causes of bleeding in early pregnancy include:
Cervical changes. During pregnancy, extra blood flows to the cervix. Intercourse or a Pap test, which cause contact with the cervix, can trigger bleeding. This type of bleeding isn't cause for concern.
Infection. Any infection of the cervix, vagina, or a sexually transmitted infection (such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or herpes) can cause bleeding in the first trimester.
Bleeding in the Second and Third Trimesters
Abnormal bleeding in late pregnancy may be more serious because it can signal a problem with the mother or baby. Call your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any bleeding in your second or third trimester.
Possible causes of bleeding in late pregnancy include:
Placenta previa. This condition occurs when the placenta sits low in the uterus and partially or completely covers the opening of the birth canal. Placenta previa is very rare in the late third trimester, occurring in only one in 200 pregnancies. A bleeding placenta previa, which can be painless, is an emergency requiring immediate medical attention.
Placental abruption. In about 1% of pregnancies, the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus before or during labor and blood pools between the placenta and uterus. Placental abruption can be very dangerous to both the mother and baby.
Other signs and symptoms of placental abruption are abdominal pain, clots from the vagina, tender uterus, and back pain.
Uterine rupture. In rare cases, a scar from a previous C-section can tear open during pregnancy. Uterine rupture can be life-threatening, and requires an emergency C-section.
Other symptoms of uterine rupture are pain and tenderness in the abdomen.
Vasa previa. In this very rare condition, the developing baby's blood vessels in the umbilical cord or placenta cross the opening to the birth canal. Vasa previa can be very dangerous to the baby because the blood vessels can tear open, causing the baby to bleed severely and lose oxygen.
Other signs of vasa previa include abnormal fetal heart rate and excessive bleeding.
Premature labor. Vaginal bleeding late in pregnancy may just be a sign that your body is getting ready to deliver. A few days or weeks before labor begins, the mucus plug that covers the opening of the uterus will pass out of the vagina, and it will usually have small amounts of blood in it (this is known as "bloody show"). If bleeding and symptoms of labor begin before the 37th week of pregnancy, contact your doctor right away because you might be in preterm labor.
Other symptoms of preterm labor include contractions, vaginal discharge, abdominal pressure, and ache in the lower back.
Additional causes of bleeding in late pregnancy are:
Injury to the cervix or vagina
What to Do If You Have Abnormal Bleeding During Pregnancy
Because vaginal bleeding in any trimester can be a sign of a problem, call your doctor. Wear a pad so that you can keep track of how much you're bleeding, and record the type of blood (for example, pink, brown, or red; smooth or full of clots). Bring any tissue that passes through the vagina to your doctor for testing. Don't use a tampon or have sex while you are still bleeding.
Your doctor might recommend that you rest as much as you can and avoid exercise and travel.
You should expect to receive an ultrasound to identify what the underlying cause of your bleeding may be. Vaginal and abdominal ultrasounds are often performed together as part of a full evaluation.
Go to the emergency room or call 911 right away if you have any of the following symptoms, which could be signs of a miscarriage or other serious problem:
Severe pain or intense cramps low in the abdomen
Severe bleeding, with or without pain
Discharge from the vagina that contains tissue
Dizziness or fainting
A fever of more than 100.4 or more degrees Fahrenheit and/or chills
Health & Pregnancy Guide
Labor and Delivery
All Guide Topics
Pathological and physiological causes of bleeding during early pregnancy
The gestation period is a complex process that does not always go well. Every second woman has various complications. Most often, women go to the doctor with complaints of spotting. Why does bleeding occur during early pregnancy, how dangerous is it?
Causes of bleeding in pregnancy
Blood in the first trimester of pregnancy in the vaginal secretion is observed in 30% of expectant mothers. Bleeding can be weak, spotting, plentiful.
Most often, blood during early pregnancy is observed during implantation of the fetal egg. When the egg is attached, the vessels are often damaged, which leads to the appearance of blood secretions. They are similar to menstruation, last 1-2 days. This process is considered natural, does not indicate any pathologies.
Any bloody discharge during early pregnancy is a reason for an urgent appeal to a gynecologist. Even if there is no additional discomfort. At a remote consultation, our doctor will collect an anamnesis, draw up a clinical picture in order to identify the cause of bleeding. And he will select effective methods to eliminate the problem.
Blood during pregnancy - other common causes
In addition to the main ones, there are some other reasons why pathology can develop.
Excessive exercise, deep penetration during intercourse. If the cervix is damaged, slight red discharge occurs, which disappears within two hours.
Progesterone deficiency. With a low level of the hormone, the body starts the process of menstruation. Bloody discharge during pregnancy appears when the uterine mucosa is exfoliated. The situation may adversely affect the implantation of the fetal egg.
Miscarriage - occurs in 2-8% of pregnant women. It is characterized by pain in the lower abdomen, which is rapidly increasing, bloody discharge at the beginning of pregnancy. The causes of the pathological condition can be different - infectious diseases, fetal malformations that are incompatible with life, dehydration, abdominal trauma, taking certain drugs.
Ectopic pregnancy. Dangerous condition, urgent hospitalization is required.
A failed miscarriage. Blood discharge during pregnancy, abdominal pain are the main manifestations of intrauterine development of the fetus.
Infections. To avoid dangerous complications, it is necessary to treat diseases. Parents of both sexes should be tested.
Full or partial hydatidiform mole. Pathology of the chorion, in which the size of the villi increases, bubble expansions form. The risk group includes women with ovarian dysfunction, inflammatory diseases of the reproductive system, and a history of cystic mole. Bleeding is profuse and constant, characteristic blisters are present. The symptoms of early toxicosis are very pronounced, the size of the uterus, the hCG indicators do not correspond to the gestational age.
Cervical cancer. Pregnant women are rarely diagnosed. The risk group includes women with a large number of abortions and childbirth, often changing sexual partners.
Subchorionic hematoma. Hemorrhage around the placenta most often resolves on its own. But it increases the risk of preterm birth and other complications.
Cervical erosion. Detected in 50% of women. For pregnant women, the disease is not dangerous, but constant medical supervision is needed.
Bleeding in the first trimester can be caused by causes that appear at any gestational age. These are fibroids, polyps in the uterus and cervical canal, cardiovascular pathologies that are associated with a weakening of the endothelium.
Physiological or pathological bleeding during gestation - differences
Clinical manifestations of bleeding in pregnant women depend on the causes. Physiological discharge of blood from the genital tract in the early stages of gestation proceeds without deterioration in well-being. With bleeding caused by erosion, fibroids and polyps, there are also no additional discomfort. In this case, only a few drops of blood are released, it bleeds for a short time.
Abundant bleeding, similar to menstruation, against the background of a general satisfactory condition, occurs with a deficiency of progesterone.
Bleeding with spontaneous interruption is accompanied by constant or periodic pain in the lumbar region, abdomen. Disturbed by nausea, bouts of dizziness, slightly increased body temperature. Bleeding can be weak or intense, and clots are often observed in the discharge.
When a fertilized egg is fixed outside the uterus, internal bleeding often occurs, and discharge from the genital tract may appear much later. Characteristic manifestations - acute pain in the abdomen radiates to the anal region, right or left side, blood pressure decreases, cold sweat appears, fainting is possible. Significant blood loss leads to the development of a state of shock with a high probability of death.
Learn more about implantation bleeding
Why does it bleed at the initial stages of gestation? Most often, the appearance of spotting during pregnancy is associated with the implantation of the embryo. They occur 6-12 days after conception and are often one of the first signs of conception.
Usually, the appearance of spotting at the beginning of pregnancy coincides with the time of the onset of menstruation, if the cycle is regular. But discharge in pregnant women is not as abundant as menstrual bleeding. Duration - from several hours to three, with the first pregnancy up to 5 days.
How does implantation bleeding manifest?
weak, pulling pain in the lower abdomen;
sudden change of mood;
bouts of nausea;
increased sensitivity, swelling of the mammary glands;
Important! When the embryo is implanted, little blood is released, usually these are small spots. The discharge may be pink, brown, orange, and there should be no clots.
Possible causes of early bleeding by week
The first months of pregnancy are the most difficult and dangerous. It is in the early stages that various pathologies and complications often appear.
Why blood may appear in the early stages during pregnancy:
At the 4th week of pregnancy, discharge with an admixture of blood may appear - this is implantation bleeding. Heavy bleeding is a dangerous sign, most often indicates a miscarriage. Spontaneous abortion can be caused by exercise, fever, infections, drugs or alcohol. Such bleeding is profuse, painful, blood clots are present.
The appearance of sanious discharge at the 5th week of pregnancy may be a sign of a missed pregnancy. The reasons are overwork, Rh conflict, bad habits, bacterial and viral diseases of the reproductive system, genetic disorders in the embryo. Symptoms - causeless fever, severe pain in the lower back and lower abdomen, the disappearance of signs of toxicosis.
Blood in the discharge at the 6th week of pregnancy appears with an ectopic attachment of the fetal egg, fetal fading, Rhesus conflict. Discharge with blood at 6 weeks of pregnancy is a reason for an urgent visit to the gynecologist.
At the 7th week of pregnancy, discharge with blood is not the norm. May indicate a miscarriage, missed or ectopic pregnancy.
From the 8th week of pregnancy, one of the most dangerous periods of pregnancy begins. The formation of the placenta begins, the hormonal background changes. Bloody discharge appears with the threat of miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. Pregnancy is often not saved.
Pay attention! In the second trimester, bleeding occurs only in 5-10% of women. Most often this is due to late spontaneous abortion, isthmic-cervical insufficiency. The appearance of blood in the third trimester mainly occurs with presentation, placental abruption.
Early bleeding after IVF
The appearance of blood discharge during pregnancy on the 8-10th day after IVF is not considered a pathology, provided that the woman feels normal. After the introduction of the embryo into the uterine cavity, minor damage to the small uterine vessels often occurs. Brown, dark cream, pale pink, odorless discharge most often indicates a successful transplant, pregnancy.
If spotting after IVF is observed for 1-2 days, slight pulling pains in the lower abdomen are disturbing, this may be due to a progesterone deficiency. After the examination, the doctor will adjust the hormonal maintenance therapy.
Pink discharge on the 16th day after the transfer is a dangerous symptom. It may be a sign of detachment of the fetal egg, the threat of termination of pregnancy.
According to studies, uterine bleeding in the first trimester is a common occurrence in pregnancy after IVF. Discharge does not affect the incidence of adverse reproductive outcomes. The number of embryo rejections in women with and without uterine bleeding is approximately the same. Consult with our doctors by phone for more details.
If blood has gone from the genitals of a pregnant woman, the doctor conducts an external and gynecological examination.
Analyzes and examinations:
general and biochemical blood test;
general urine analysis;
tests for hCG, other hormones;
Ultrasound of the pelvic organs;
CTG is performed to assess the vital activity of the fetus.
Methods of treatment depend on the results of the examination.
Bloody discharge in the first trimester - causes and therapeutic measures:
Cleansing the uterus.
Diagnostic laparoscopy, removal of residual fetal tissues, antibiotic therapy.
Risk of miscarriage
Hospitalization, bed rest, prescribing drugs to maintain pregnancy, sedatives and tocolytics to reduce uterine tone.
Curettage of the uterine cavity.
Polyp injury, cervical erosion
Expectant management, if the condition does not worsen, removal and cauterization is carried out after childbirth.
Damage to the uterus
Complete bed rest.
Depending on the type of pathogen - antibiotics, antiviral or antifungal drugs.
Complications and consequences
It is impossible to ignore bloody impurities in vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Without proper and timely assistance, the following complications may occur:
intrauterine fetal death;
the development of an infectious process, sepsis due to the remainder of dead tissues in the uterine cavity;
profuse blood loss can lead to death.
Important! Urgent medical attention is needed in case of heavy bleeding, discharge of bright scarlet blood, presence of blood clots in the discharge. In life-threatening and fetal conditions, severe pain in the abdomen, lower back, convulsions, profuse cold sweat, and loss of consciousness are disturbing.
Methods of prevention
If there is blood in the first trimester, it is important to remain calm. Stress and anxiety will only exacerbate the situation. But any health problem is easier to prevent than to treat.
How to avoid bleeding during childbearing - recommendations from a gynecologist:
eat right and balanced, give up junk and junk food, eat more fresh vegetables and fruits;
observe the drinking regime;
in the absence of contraindications, moderate physical activity is indicated - yoga, swimming, special gymnastics for pregnant women;
more time to walk in the fresh air;
avoid stress, overwork, observe the daily routine, get enough sleep;
give up bad habits, do not be in smoky rooms;
timely visit a gynecologist;
according to the doctor's prescription, take vitamin complexes for pregnant women;
do not self-medicate.
The prognosis for bleeding during gestation depends on the causes and timely visit to the doctor. Properly provided medical care can save the life of the fetus and the woman.
Why is there blood from the genital tract during gestation?
The causes of bleeding in early pregnancy are different. Most often, spotting appears when the fetal egg is fixed, progesterone deficiency, with erosion of the cervix and polyps. Dangerous causes - ectopic, molar, miscarriage, miscarriage.
What to do if there is bleeding during pregnancy?
Much depends on the amount of blood released, general well-being. If the bleeding is not strong, not for long, the general condition is normal, it is enough to lie down and rest. Write down the date of the attack, inform the doctor at the next visit. But if even slight spotting during early pregnancy lasts more than 72 hours, is accompanied by cramping or acute pain, fever, you should immediately visit a gynecologist or call an ambulance.
How can you recognize a miscarriage?
With the threat of interruption, spotting is scanty, pain in the lower abdomen is absent or may be dull, aching. The condition is considered reversible, with timely treatment, pregnancy can be saved. If a miscarriage has begun, bleeding intensifies, cramping pain appears. The general condition is satisfactory. Urgent hospitalization is required, the probability of maintaining pregnancy is decided on an individual basis.
Bleeding during pregnancy is a dangerous symptom. Sometimes spotting can be caused by physiological reasons. But often such a symptom appears in life-threatening conditions for the woman and the fetus.
We publish only verified information
Menshikova Maria Viktorovna obstetrician-gynecologist
Experience 38 years
Specialist with extensive practical experience. He has a certificate of a mammologist, a certificate of professional certification. Participates in foreign business trips and individual training programs (Los Angeles).
2009 - 2013 Pereslavl Central District Hospital, women's consultation - obstetrician-gynecologist
2020 to present Teledoctor24 LLC - doctor - consultant (gynecologist)
Bloody discharge during pregnancy ᐈ Blood during early pregnancy
Seeing bloody discharge, a pregnant woman is always frightened. They are considered a symptom of miscarriage and other equally serious pathologies. At the same time, in some cases, the appearance of a small amount of blood is considered the norm and does not pose a threat to the life and health of the fetus or the expectant mother.
In early pregnancy, bloody discharge occurs in 25% of women. In most cases, they are associated with the implantation of the fetal egg to the wall of the uterus. Also, scanty spotting may appear on the dates of the expected menstruation. If they end quickly, are not accompanied by pain, and the woman has not had miscarriages or pregnancy complications before, most likely she has nothing to worry about. However, it is necessary to consult an obstetrician-gynecologist and undergo an examination.
Why bloody discharge can appear and when it is dangerous, said Elena Petrovna Domnich, obstetrician-gynecologist of the highest category, gynecologist-endocrinologist, ultrasound specialist of the ADONIS medical center.
Elena Nikolaevna, tell me, can a woman have periods during pregnancy?
- Sometimes during pregnancy, a woman may experience spotting, but this should not be interpreted as menstruation. Menstruation occurs at the end of the menstrual cycle, during which the endometrium changes, first proliferative, then secretory. During the cycle, the endometrium prepares for pregnancy, and if it does not occur, then menstruation begins.
In the event of pregnancy, menstruation is not possible, although bleeding may occur at the expected time. Because of this, some women do not immediately know that they are pregnant. However, when the obstetrician-gynecologist at the reception asks them about the nature of the discharge, it always turns out that they are different from menstrual. As a rule, they are more scarce, pass faster and are not accompanied by other symptoms. Sometimes a woman says that her period was very recent, but at the time of examination and examination, we find that she is already 8 or 12 weeks pregnant.
How often does this happen? Is spotting during pregnancy an exception or a fairly common occurrence?
- Bloody discharge is not common in pregnant women, but still it cannot be said that these are exceptional cases.
Tell me, if a woman is planning to conceive a child, and during the expected period she has unusual discharge, should she take a pregnancy test?
- Yes, but it's better to visit an obstetrician-gynecologist. There are cases when a woman is pregnant, but the test strip shows a negative result. To accurately determine whether there is a pregnancy, allows a blood test for the level of hCG.
So bleeding during pregnancy is not menstruation, but bleeding? Why can it appear and why is it dangerous?
- Yes, that's right. This is bleeding, not menstruation. It can be a symptom of a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or other pathology. For diagnosis, you must consult a doctor.
Tell me more, if a woman has a discharge and thinks she is menstruating, but a previous pregnancy test came back positive, could it be wrong?
- A pregnancy test is sometimes positive even if it is not. This happens if a woman has formed luteal cysts or developed a thyroid disease.
Bloody discharge during pregnancy requires contacting the antenatal clinic or the medical center where the woman was registered for pregnancy management.