Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is an unwanted condition for a woman. Bleeding can occur at various stages of pregnancy. Although bleeding is alarming, it may or may not be a serious complication. However, it is advisable to contact your doctor if you have bleeding during your pregnancy.
Early pregnancy bleeding
Many women bleed in the first trimester of pregnancy or have some type of vaginal spotting. Bleeding is quite common in early pregnancy and may be due to the following reason:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Gestational trophoblastic disease
- Implantation bleeding
A miscarriage is a loss of pregnancy. Although miscarriage can occur any time during the first half of pregnancy, it is most common during the first twelve weeks. Bleeding in early pregnancy can be due to miscarriage. Note that vaginal bleeding is an indication of miscarriage. If bleeding is at all due to miscarriage, you will continue to bleed until the tissue is in the uterus.
When pregnancy occurs outside the uterus then it is called ectopic pregnancy. Usually, implantation takes place in the fallopian tube and hence, it is also known as tubal pregnancy. As the pregnancy is not in the uterus, it will not progress normally and may damage the fallopian tube resulting in major bleeding and can even lead to death. The symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are pelvic pain (usually a sharp pain on one side) and vaginal bleeding. If the fallopian tube is damaged, it causes shoulder pain, dizziness, or fainting. Since there may not be enough time, you should immediately call your doctor.
Gestational trophoblastic disease
Gestational trophoblastic disease can also cause bleeding. A rare complication occurs in woman’s uterus after conception in which a grape-like mass of fetal and placental tissues develops.
When implantation takes place in uterus, many women have slight vaginal spotting or bleeding.
Late pregnancy bleeding
The reasons for bleeding in the second half of pregnancy are different from that in early pregnancy. The most common cause of excessive vaginal bleeding is placenta. Excessive bleeding may pose a serious threat to the mother or the fetus. If there is a bleeding in the second half of pregnancy, you should inform your doctor. Bleeding in late pregnancy may be due to the following reason:
- Placenta previa
- Placental abruption
When the placenta shifts slightly lower in the uterus affecting the cervix (uterine opening) by partially or completely covering it, then this situation is termed as placenta previa. In late pregnancy, placenta previa may result in vaginal bleeding without pain.
When the placenta detaches from the side of the uterus partially or completely before or during labor, it is called placental abruption. The signs include vaginal bleeding, sharp abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
Bleeding can happen in pregnant women whose due date has approached. It means you are getting ready for labor. If it occurs earlier, you should call your doctor, as it may be a sign of premature labor.
Spotting is very light bleeding during pregnancy. Whenever you notice spotting or bleeding during pregnancy, call your doctor. While it may turn out to be minor, it could also be a sign of serious complications.