Life Improving Guide

Bleeding during pregnancy: The causes

Bleeding can occur during any of the trimesters of pregnancy. Where spotting or light bleeding does not raise much of an alarm, consistent and heavy bleeding in form of clots, can be dangerous and calls for an immediate medical assistance. Spotting or light bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy, is experienced by about 20% to 30% of women, and is quite normal. On the other hand, if experienced during the second trimester, it is considered abnormal and may lead to miscarriage. However, bleeding during the third trimester, post 28 weeks of pregnancy, is a thing of worry and one should consult the doctor or midwife without further delay. There are many reasons for bleeding during pregnancy. Lets take a look at them.


20% to 30% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage. Miscarriage can be a major reason for bleeding, especially during the first trimester or within 12 weeks of conception. It results in heavy vaginal bleeding, accompanied by severe cramps in the lower abdomen and tissue passing through the vagina. The primary reason for miscarriage during the initial stages of pregnancy is an undeveloped fetus, leading to an unhealthy pregnancy. In such situations, one should consult the doctor, and meticulously follow his guidance to ensure a healthy pregnancy in the near future.

Ectopic pregnancy

Symptoms of spotting in the first trimester of pregnancy can be a result of Ectopic pregnancy, a situation in which the fertilized egg gets attached to someplace, beyond the uterus walls. It is even termed as tubal pregnancy, when the fetus gets plugged on to the fallopian tubes. It is accompanied by heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain and dizziness. Although only one out of 60 women experiences this problem, it can be quite alarming and calls for an emergency. The common symptoms for Ectopic pregnancy are severe cramps in the lower part of the stomach, irresistible pain in the abdominal region and high level of HCG, noticed in the blood test reports of the pregnant woman.

Implantation Bleeding

Another cause for bleeding during pregnancy can be due to implantation which occurs when the egg implants itself into the lining of the uterus. As the egg burrows into the uterus lining, it may result in bleeding, at times. This may come under notice at the time of implantation or after a few days in form of brown spots.

Spotting after sex

The cervix becomes quite tender and sensitive during pregnancy, thereby increasing the blood supply to it. Under such circumstances, having sex can cause irritation in the cervix area leading to bleeding after some time. Whenever you find spotting on your underpants, consult your doctor or midwife immediately and let them know that you had intercourse before spotting occurred. However, to further avoid risk, you might be abstained from having sex during the first trimester of your pregnancy.

Molar pregnancy

Although it is a very uncommon reason, spotting can happen due to molar pregnancy during the initial stages. It takes place when a non-viable, fertilized egg gets implanted on to the uterus, caused by an abnormal growth of tissues. This condition is also known as gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) in medical terms. The common symptoms of molar pregnancy are bleeding from the vagina, blood test reporting high levels of HCG and absence of fetal heart beats. It can be viewed as grape-like clusters in the uterus on conducting an ultrasound test.

Spotting after an internal examination

It is often seen that after an internal examination or pap smearing, a little spotting occurs. If it is just an occasional spotting, there is nothing to worry about it. However, if it gets transformed to continuous spotting or heavy bleeding, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Placenta Preria

Placenta preria is an obstetric complication which generally occurs anytime during the last two trimesters of pregnancy. Under this problem, the placenta gets attached to the uterine wall which covers the cervix. This situation causes heavy vaginal bleeding, leading to ante partum hemorrhage, with no abdominal pain at all and calls for an immediate help from the doctor. This is a rare problem, with one out of every 200 women facing it. Women who have already had children with caesarean deliveries or have had a previous uterus surgery are at a higher risk of experiencing this problem.

Preterm labor

There is a small plug known as mucus plug, present at the opening of the uterus. During the last trimester of pregnancy, this plug gets erupted and passes away with a small quantity of mucus and blood. This is an indication of the beginning of labor, and generally happens around the due date. But, if this situation occurs weeks before the due date, mainly before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is termed as preterm labor. The symptoms of this condition are marked by heavy vaginal discharge, abdominal pressure on the pelvic region, low back pain, incessant stomach ache, diarrhea or tightening of the abdomen.

Placenta abruption

During the last trimester of pregnancy, a major reason for bleeding can be on account of placenta getting detached from the wall of the uterus, during or before labor. It is a very rare possibility, though, occurring only in 1% of pregnant women. Its symptoms include severe vaginal bleeding and acute stomach ache. Women aged above 35 years, having high blood pressure, addicted to cocaine or smoking or have had some kind of stomach injury in the past, are at a higher risk of experiencing placenta abruption during the last stages of their pregnancy.

Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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