Month one

Spot­ting in early preg­nancy

Your Pregnancy - - Contents -

Every­one knows that bleed­ing in preg­nancy isn’t nor­mal. So see­ing blood in your undies at the very be­gin­ning of your preg­nancy can cause huge con­cern. Does this mean you’re about to lose your preg­nancy, asks Tina Otte VAGI­NAL BLEED­ING THAT

oc­curs in the first trimester is more com­mon than you may re­alise and most of the time it turns out to be a mi­nor is­sue. But it’s im­por­tant al­ways to check in with your care­giver should you be con­cerned. Statis­tics show bleed­ing oc­curs in 20 to 30 per­cent of preg­nan­cies. Of that, about 50 per­cent may end up in a mis­car­riage.


IMPLANTATION BLEED­ING There may be a small amount of blood that es­capes from the vagina dur­ing nor­mal implantation of the em­bryo into the uter­ine wall. It’s com­monly re­ferred to as implantation bleed­ing. Bleed­ing from an implantation site is very dif­fer­ent from the reg­u­lar bleed­ing from a full pe­riod, which oc­curs when the en­tire lin­ing of the uterus (the en­dometrium) comes away as the body sig­nals that no preg­nancy has taken hold, and the womb “sweeps” it­self clean and starts pre­par­ing for the pos­si­bil­ity of new life dur­ing the next cy­cle. Implantation bleed­ing is usu­ally light and may last one or two days. TIS­SUE SEN­SI­TIV­ITY Due to in­creased blood flow and

hor­mone changes dur­ing preg­nancy, the cer­vi­cal tis­sue be­comes highly sen­si­tive. Some­times a small polyp (a bit like a skin tag that’s present be­fore preg­nancy) be­comes sen­si­tive and bleed­ing from the cervix oc­curs. It usu­ally set­tles down with no threat to the baby. BREAK­THROUGH BLEED­ING This is a slight bleed in the first trimester ev­ery time your pe­riod is due. It’s usu­ally due to low hor­mone lev­els and doesn’t al­ways lead to mis­car­riage. MIS­CAR­RIAGE Most mis­car­riages hap­pen be­tween six and 10 weeks of preg­nancy. The most com­mon causes of mis­car­riage are med­i­cal prob­lems, in­fec­tions, uter­ine ab­nor­mal­i­ties, ex­treme emo­tional stress, some drugs and Rh­e­sus in­com­pat­i­bil­ity. The bleed­ing will be heavy and bright red and ac­com­pa­nied by ab­dom­i­nal cramps and back­ache. Al­though bleed­ing can be a sign of mis­car­riage, it may not mean that mis­car­riage is im­mi­nent. About half of preg­nant women who bleed don’t have mis­car­riages. Around 15 to 20 per­cent of all preg­nan­cies re­sult in a mis­car­riage, and most oc­cur dur­ing the first 12 weeks. EC­TOPIC PREG­NANCY The fer­tilised egg em­beds out­side the womb, usu­ally in the Fal­lop­ian tube or, in rare cases, in the ab­domen, in­stead of in the uterus. Ec­topic preg­nan­cies are less com­mon than mis­car­riages, oc­cur­ring in one in 60 preg­nan­cies. It’s life-threat­en­ing for the mother, and symp­toms in­clude vagi­nal bleed­ing and se­vere lower ab­dom­i­nal pain. Bleed­ing may also be caused by rea­sons un­re­lated to preg­nancy; for ex­am­ple, trauma or tears to the vagi­nal wall may bleed, and some in­fec­tions can also cause bleed­ing.


If you’re bleed­ing, you should al­ways wear a pad or panty liner, so that you can mon­i­tor how much you’re bleed­ing and what type of bleed­ing you’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. You should never wear a tam­pon or in­tro­duce any­thing else into the vagi­nal area, such as douche, and don’t have sex­ual in­ter­course if you’re cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing bleed­ing. The good news is that most women who ex­pe­ri­ence spot­ting dur­ing preg­nancy con­tinue to have a healthy preg­nancy. Blood loss from the vagina dur­ing preg­nancy isn’t nor­mal, so con­sult with your care­giver if this hap­pens to you.



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