Bleeding in pregnancy is common, especially during the first trimester, and is usually not a call for alarm. But bleeding can at times be a sign of something serious. So, it is important to find out the possible cause of bleeding during pregnancy. It is best to get it checked by the doctor to make sure that the female and her baby are healthy and there are no complications during pregnancy.
Causes of bleeding during Pregnancy in the First trimester
Implantation happens when the fertilized makes space and burrows into the side of the female’s womb (or uterus). This happens around day 6 to 12 after the female conceives. The fertilized egg floats into the uterine and attaches itself to it to get oxygen and nutrition from the mother.
Implantation can cause bleeding or light spotting in the first trimester.
About 2 to 5 % of females have polyps, which are small, finger-like growths on the cervix, which is the gateway from the vagina to the uterus. Cervical polyps are usually benign and do not cause cancer. However, these polyps can get inflamed or irritated and cause bright red bleeding.
Physical Exam or Sexual Intercourse
Physical exams such as pelvic exams can irritate the cervix and cause bleeding. Sexual intercourse can also cause bleeding due to the same reason. Pregnancy hormones can make the cervix more sensitive than normal.
Sometimes spotting or lighter bleeding can turn to heavy bleeding, just like the period bleeding. Apart from heavy vaginal bleeding, other symptoms that can accompany a miscarriage may include-
- Blood or tissue clots in the bleeding
- Bright red to brown colored bleeding
- Severe cramping or pain in the lower abdomen
- Mild to sharp pain in the lower back
It is absolutely true that heavy vaginal bleeding in the first trimester, especially if accompanied by cramping or pain can be a sign of miscarriage. Most miscarriages occur during the first trimester.
Also Read: Excessive Bleeding During Pregnancy
Pregnant with multiple babies
If the female is pregnant with twins (or multiples), she might have a greater chance of pregnancy bleeding. Miscarriages in the first trimester of pregnancy are also more common when the female is pregnant with more than one baby.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg mistakenly gets attached somewhere else outside the womb, most commonly in the fallopian tubes. An ectopic pregnancy is as rare as 2.5%, which is less common than miscarriage. A baby can only grow and develop only inside the uterus, so ectopic pregnancies need to be medically treated. Other symptoms of ectopic pregnancy include:
- Sharp vaginal or abdominal pain
- Rectal pressure
- Severe cramping
If left untreated, they can be life-threatening for the female.
A molar pregnancy happens when the placenta’s tissues grow abnormally during fertilization. This can happen due to a genetic error. Because of this, the fetus may not grow at all. A molar pregnancy can also lead to a miscarriage in the first trimester. They are as rare as 1 in every 1,000 pregnancies but may have serious complications.
The female may also have other symptoms like-
- Bright red to dark-colored bleeding
- Lower stomach pain
Bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy might have nothing to do with the pregnancy at all. An infection in the female’s pelvic area, in the urinary bladder or urinary tract, can also be the reason for spotting or bleeding. They may be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
A serious yeast infection or vaginitis can also cause bleeding during pregnancy. Infections mostly cause pink or red-colored spotting or light bleeding. Other symptoms of infections in pregnancy can include-
- Vaginal itching
- Pain in the abdomen (lower stomach)
- Dysuria or burning sensation when urinating
- White vaginal discharge
- Bumps or sores on outer part vagina
Second and third trimester bleeding
Bleeding in the second or third trimester of pregnancy is mostly more serious than the first trimester light bleeding. Causes of bleeding during the first or second trimester of pregnancy may include-
- Cervix problems- Inflammation or growths in/on the cervix can cause light vaginal bleeding. This is usually not a serious problem but the female should notify her doctor if anything so happens.
- Placental abruption-This happens when the placenta detaches itself from the uterine wall before or at the time of labor. This condition is as rare as just 1 % of pregnant females.
- Placenta previa- This happens when the placenta is very low in the uterus and partly covers the cervix. This can cause vaginal bleeding without any pain.
- Vasa Previa- This occurs when some of the placenta’s blood vessels go across the cervix.
- Premature labor- Vaginal bleeding in the second or third trimester may mean that the female might be having early labor.
When to get medical help?
Talk to your doctor if you experience bleeding during pregnancy in any trimester. Visit your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal discharge with clots or tissues
- Severe cramping and/or pain
- Fainting or dizziness
- Fever of 38°C or higher
Do not avoid any abnormal signs in your pregnancy and consult your doctor right away to rule out the chances of complications or any other risks.
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