Is Bleeding In Pregnancy Normal?

Is Bleeding In Pregnancy Normal?

Written by One Mama Midwife

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It may be concerning to experience bleeding during your pregnancy, however some types of bleeding can be harmless during pregnancy. It is essential to understand the different types of bleeding during pregnancy, what causes them and when to seek medical advice. 

What bleeding is normal in pregnancy?

During early pregnancy some spotting or light bleeding is relatively common and usually causes no concerns. Around 20-30% of women will experience light bleeding during the first trimester. This may appear pink or brown in colour and often occurs around the time that the embryo implants into the uterus. Sometimes bleeding in early pregnancy can be due to hormonal changes as well. 

Another common type of bleeding during pregnancy, occurs in the third trimester when the cervix begins to change and prepare for labour. This is commonly known as a “bloody show”and occurs when the mucous plug is released from the cervix. The mucous plug may appear thick, white or blood stained mucous. 

Abnormal bleeding in pregnancy

Abnormal bleeding in pregnancy can be a serious concern during pregnancy and can be asign of complications.

Some causes of abnormal bleeding in pregnancy include:

- Miscarriage: This occurs when the pregnancy is lost during the first 20 weeks. Symptoms may include bright red blood coming from the vagina and cramping.

- Ectopic pregnancy: An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants outside of the uterus (womb) and this is usually in the fallopian tube. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include extreme pain, shoulder tip pain and bleeding from the vagina.

- Placenta previa: Placenta previa occurs when the placenta implants partially or completely over the cervix. Often bleeding with placenta previa is painless and often occurs during the second or third trimester. It needs to be seen immediately.

- Placental abruption: Placental abruption occurs when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus during pregnancy before the birth of the baby. It can be life threatening to both the mother and the baby. It may present as a uterus that is tight and does not relax accompanied by abdominal pain, contractions and/or vaginal bleeding.

When should I call the hospital with vaginal bleeding during pregnancy? 

Anytime that you have bleeding during pregnancy and are concerned, you should seek help from your healthcare professional. Even though some types of bleeding can be harmless during pregnancy, it is always essential to get checked immediately. Bleeding in pregnancy may be harmless when it is caused by implantation of the embryointo the uterus during the first trimester or changes to the cervix in preparation for labour. Although bleeding in pregnancy is not always a cause for concern, it is always important to get checked by your healthcare professional.