If you have bleeding during pregnancy, it’s common to feel alarmed. But sometimes, bleeding or spotting during pregnancy is not necessarily a sign of trouble. Understanding the differences between “normal” bleeding or spotting and abnormal bleeding is essential, so you know how to react.
Bleeding or spotting during pregnancy depends on a few factors, including when it occurs and how heavily you’re bleeding. It’s one of the most frequent concerns in obstetrics, and we always take it seriously. The providers at Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich explain the causes of bleeding during pregnancy and how to know when it’s an emergency.
What causes bleeding during pregnancy
How concerning bleeding is depends on when it occurs during your pregnancy.
Bleeding during the first trimester is not uncommon. Some women have light spotting or even a bit of bleeding when they first get pregnant. This is called implantation bleeding, which occurs when the embryo implants itself into your uterus. It should usually be pretty light in terms of the amount of blood and does not typically resemble menstrual bleeding.
Other causes of bleeding during the first trimester
Other causes of bleeding during the first trimester are much less common, including ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized egg implants outside your uterus) or cervical polyps. Cervical polyps are noncancerous growths on your cervix that bleed because of increased estrogen levels.
On some occasions, you may bleed if you’re having a miscarriage. This bleeding will be much heavier than normal, and you will want to call Dr. Weyhrich or his staff to confirm it.
Sex, pelvic exams, and transvaginal ultrasounds are also common causes of bleeding. This occurs because your cervix is extra sensitive during pregnancy due to hormones.
Bleeding later in pregnancy
If you start bleeding in the second or third trimester, and it’s not due to sex or pelvic exams, it’s more likely a sign of a problem.
Some of the causes of bleeding in the second or third trimester include:
- Placenta previa (where the placenta covers your cervix; it’s rare after 20 weeks of pregnancy)
- Placental abruption (a rare emergency where your placenta has become detached from your uterus)
- Preterm labor (labor before 37 weeks)
- Incompetent cervix (when the cervix opens too early)
- Bloody show (a normal part of early labor)
If you have bleeding, you should call Dr. Weyhrich. In many cases, all you’ll need to do is stay off your feet for a while and rest.
You should always feel free to contact Dr. Weyhrich or his staff if you have bleeding for any reason during pregnancy, especially if it concerns you. Much of the time, it’s normal and not a reason for concern. However, some conditions represent true emergencies, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
We always want to take the time to put your mind at ease and check out your concerns. Contact Dr. Weyhrich or make an appointment online.