Light bleeding, or spotting, during pregnancy is common, especially during the first trimester. Usually, this is not a sign of any problem. However, the amount of bleeding and the symptoms accompanying it, shows the cause of bleeding. It is crucial to identify the cause of bleeding because some of the causes are fatal for both, the baby and the mother. So it is advisable to see a doctor immediately when bleeding happens during pregnancy. Be ready to answer the questions of your doctor about the amount of blood, its colour and symptoms.
Here, vaginal bleeding is discussed in mainly two divisions of pregnancy time, first 20 weeks and the last 20 weeks.
The first 20 weeks:
Bleeding during first 20 weeks is normal and more often than not the pregnancy will progress totally normal. Following are the reasons for innocuous spotting or bleeding during first half.
- Sexual intercourse
- Hormonal changes
- Implantation bleeding, lasts for about 4 weeks, as the fertilised egg attaches with uterine wall.
- Internal examination done by obstetrician or mid-wife. Chemical pregnancy, occurs when the fertilised egg fails to get fully implanted in uterus.
- Subchorionic hemorrhage which is the bleeding around placenta. This kind of bleeding does not affect normal pregnancy, though proper diagnosis and treatment is required. It can increase risk of some complications like preterm labour.
- Miscarriage (either threatened or imminent), which causes a loss of child during first half of the pregnancy. It causes spotting or bleeding accompanied by heavy pain in lower abdomen and nausea.
- Molar pregnancy, which is nonviable pregnancy characterized by abnormal growth on placenta.
- Ectopic pregnancy, is when development of fetus occurs outside the uterus, in other part such as fallopian tube. The cause should be diagnosed early and should be treated, failing this can risk the life of mother.
The last 20 weeks.
Risk of miscarriage is mitigated by large percentage after first trimester and the probability of miscarriages after 20 weeks is almost zero. And it is same for other complications like molar and ectopic pregnancies. Causes for bleeding in the second half is as follows.
- Sexual intercourse
- Cervical checks, especially when they become more frequent in late third trimester.
- Placenta previa, a condition when the cervix gets covered by placenta either partially or completely
- Placental abruption, in which the placenta tears away from uterus causing severe bleeding. This can be threatening for mother’s life. However, this complication is very rare and occurs in only one percent of all pregnancies.
- Preterm labour, in which vaginal bleeding is accompanied by cramping or contractions, diarrhoea, pelvic pressure, or back pain before 37 weeks, could have serious repercussions for the baby if not managed. After 37 weeks, these symptoms could be a normal start to labour.
So, the bottom-line is, any sort of bleeding or spotting deserves attention by you and your doctor. Diagnose the cause, get appropriate treatment and have a happy pregnancy.
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