Bleeding During Pregnancy: What's Normal?

The pregnancy process is one of the most miraculous things a woman can experience in her life. But what do you do if you realize you’re bleeding? Is it normal? Is it serious? In this blog, the team at New Beginnings OB-GYN will discuss pregnancy and what you should know if you’re bleeding.

First half of pregnancy

According to the American Pregnancy Organization, frequent bleeding during the first trimester may not be a sign of a problem. Light bleeding during the first trimester occurs in nearly one-third of pregnant women and often poses no threat to the mother or her child. Here are the most common reasons a woman can bleed during the first trimester:

Implantation bleeding

It is normal for some spotting after the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of your uterus. Because this happens 6-12 days after conception, a majority of women mistake this for their monthly cycle.

OB-GYN exam

OB-GYN exams usually require an internal examination. If you notice some spotting after a few hours, it’s completely normal and should go away within 24 hours.

Intercourse

Sexual intercourse could be the reason you’re bleeding. Due to the increased blood supply, your cervix becomes swollen. If you participate in rough play, you may experience spotting.

Second half of pregnancy

If you’re heading into your second trimester and notice vaginal bleeding, it could be due to cervical inflammation, which is treatable and poses no threat to your baby.

However, if you’re experiencing heavy bleeding associated with headaches, back pain, or fevers, it could be a sign of preterm labor or a possible miscarriage. Even though the possibility of a miscarriage after 20 weeks is rare, any bleeding whatsoever should be examined by your OB-GYN.

Other causes of heavy bleeding can include:

Placental abruption

With this condition, the placenta detaches from the wall of your uterus, which results in a lack of oxygen to your baby. You will experience bleeding and other painful symptoms. If symptoms are not noticed early, you and your baby’s lives could be at risk.

Placenta previa

This condition is caused when the placenta lays low in your uterus. It may cause vaginal bleeding, but there should be no pain. This can happen after the 30th week of pregnancy, because the lower part of your uterus becomes thinner as it stretches out. If the issue is not resolved, it could lead to the need for a Caesarean section.

Placenta accreta

With this condition, the placenta becomes inseparable from the uterine wall. This can occur during the third trimester and can be responsible for significant blood loss. Sometimes, this issue may not be discovered until after the baby is born. A hysterectomy is usually performed right after the baby’s birth to prevent blood loss that could be life-threatening.

Steps to take in case you are bleeding

If you experience bleeding during your pregnancy, don’t panic. Take the following steps to determine the level of bleeding and to decide what you should do next:

Bleeding can occur during pregnancy, but sometimes it’s not always normal. Here at New Beginnings OB-GYN, we thrive on helping people like you have happy, healthy pregnancies. To learn more about bleeding during pregnancy, book an appointment online or over the phone.

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