Fortunately, when it comes to early pregnancy bleeding that bears a resemblance to a period, it’s essential to know that it doesn’t typically indicate a serious problem such as a miscarriage. It’s crucial to understand the signs and know when it’s advisable to seek medical advice for this prevalent condition. Discover why pregnancy bleeding doesn’t always mean a miscarriage, empowering yourself with knowledge and reassurance during this delicate phase.
Having period-like bleeding after finding out you’re pregnant is cause for concern. In fact, if you wake up one morning to find blood in your underwear, the first thing you might think about is whether or not you’re experiencing a miscarriage. Fortunately, you can’t always expect the worst. To find out more, we consulted with professionals.
How to Handle Period-Like Bleeding in the First Trimester
Don’t freak out if you start bleeding early in your pregnancy. Yes, spotting or bleeding during pregnancy might be a sign of miscarriage. However, this is not always a sign of an impending miscarriage.
“Even in a perfectly healthy pregnancy, bleeding can happen,” says Zev Williams, M.D., Ph.D., OB-GYN. Vaginal bleeding is common, especially in the first few weeks of pregnancy.
One-quarter of pregnant women will have bleeding during the first trimester, but only around half of these cases will end in a miscarriage.
Reasons for Pregnancy Bleeding
Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is not always cause for urgent alarm, as many expectant mothers learn after contacting their pregnancy care providers. Infection, discomfort (from, for example, vaginal intercourse), and embryo implantation into the uterine wall (typically on or around the day your period is due) are all potential reasons for bleeding.
According to Elizabeth Nowacki, D.O., an OB-GYN at St. Vincent Fishers Hospital in Fishers, Indiana, “lag time” before the placenta is fully formed is one of the most prevalent causes of bleeding. Until the placenta begins to form at roughly 12 weeks, hormone support for the pregnancy comes primarily from the ovary that delivered the egg. Even before the placenta is fully functional, some little bleeding is normal. It never fails to occur at two in the morning! Spotting that disappears after being wiped is not an emergency and can wait until the morning.
Bleeding in the second or third trimester of pregnancy may be caused by cervical irritation or cervical alterations, such as a growth or polyp on the cervix, and may not indicate an impending miscarriage or stillbirth.
Bleeding may occur between the placenta and the uterus or on the exterior of the cervix (the opening through which the uterus communicates with the vagina), both of which typically heal on their own. Mild bleeding, especially if mixed with a mucus-like discharge, may also indicate early labor.
In the end, there are cases of pregnancy-related bleeding that have no clear cause.
Why and How Pregnancy Bleeding Occurs
Bleeding of any kind during pregnancy, including vaginal bleeding, should always be investigated by a medical professional, but it may not always signal a problem. Follow these instructions if you see any spotting or bleeding:
- Please contact your doctor immediately. Make an appointment with your gynecologist or midwife and talk to them about your symptoms.
- Remember the time and length of this. Take down the time the bleeding began and anything you did that might have caused it.
- Take note of the sum. Use a pad or panty-liner (never a tampon) for protection and absorbency; your doctor may ask you how quickly a standard overnight pad is being refilled to assess the severity of your bleeding.
- Take note of the hue. Keep track of whether or not the blood is bright red, pink, brown, or another color, your doctor may ask.
- Rest. Relax with a tall glass of water and a good book while you wait to hear from your doctor.
- Keep a close eye out for any more signs. You may want to check in with yourself to see if you’ve noticed any additional symptoms, such as increased or decreased baby activity, visual changes, back pain, or nausea.
If necessary, your doctor will determine whether your bleeding is related to pregnancy loss, another problem, or is otherwise harmless.
It’s natural to worry that you’re experiencing a miscarriage if you have any bleeding during your pregnancy. Fortunately, that’s not always the case, especially if your bleeding is minimal and infrequent. However, pregnancy loss can also cause bleeding. If that’s the case, reaching out for help and being gentle with yourself as you recover is important.
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