Is It Normal To Bleed During Pregnancy? Causes of Bleeding in First Trimester
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Bleeding during Pregnancy: Is It Normal or Not

Bleeding during Pregnancy: Is It Normal or Not

by: Dr. Ruchi Ahuja
Consultant Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Bleeding during pregnancy can be an alarming symptom for the mom to be. Though it is a very common symptom in the first three months of pregnancy it is important to get in touch with your doctor to make sure that there is nothing serious.

Bleeding in the First Three Months (First Trimester)

25-40% of patients may experience some form of bleeding in the first trimester (3 months) of pregnancy. In most of the cases pregnancy progresses normally especially if heart beat is detected on ultrasound.

Light bleeding lasting for a few hours or a few days may be due to the baby settling down in the uterus it is also known as implantation bleeding.  This is not serious and usually settles down on its own. This may be mistaken for a light period sometimes.

In the First Trimester the Other Causes of Bleeding are:

  • Miscarriage-This is most commonly seen in the first three months .Although this condition always needs to be ruled out, bleeding does not always necessarily mean that the patient is going to abort. Usually in this condition bleeding is accompanied by pain and cramps or passage of a fleshy mass.
  • Ectopic pregnancy: This is a life threatening condition. Here the pregnancy is developing in other parts of the reproductive tract (tube, ovary and cervix) and not in the uterus. Since these areas cannot expand like the uterus the progression of pregnancy often leads to the rupture of these, thus leading to uncontrollable bleeding which land the patient in shock if not taken care of well in time.
  • Sub chorionic haemorrhage: This is bleeding behind the placenta. Most of the times this condition resolves with rest and medicines. Sometimes it may progress to abortion or later there may be preterm labour pains.
  • Slight bleeding may occur after intercourse and due to

Therefore any bleeding should be taken seriously because it may be a symptom of a serious problem. An ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening and a spotting may progress into irreversible abortion process if not taken care of in time.

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Causes of Bleeding After 12 Weeks:

Bleeding after 12 weeks is usually indicative of a serious underlying problem unlike that in the first trimester.

  • Placenta previa: Here the placenta is very close to the opening of the cervix or even may be covering it. This can lead to sudden painless bleeding sometimes without any cause. Torrential bleeding may occur in this condition putting the mother and child at risk.
  • Abruption placentae: Here the placenta separates from the uterine wall leading to bleeding which may come out of the vagina or may collect behind the placenta. This is again a serious condition which may put the mother and child’s life at risk. Very often it is associated with high blood pressure in mother.
  • Preterm labour/ labour pains are very often associated with mild bleeding this is known as show.
  • Again Infections and sexual intercourse can lead to slight bleeding
  • After internal examination the pregnant mother may experience some bleeding and this is absolutely normal in the last 2-3 weeks of pregnancy.

So it is clear that though bleeding in pregnancy can be a very common symptom it is always advisable to get in touch with your obstetrician as the bleeding may be due to serious problems which need to be ruled out by history, clinical examination and most often an ultrasound. Seeking help early helps to curb the problem in early stage in case of a serious problem. Let your doctor be the best judge!

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