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Vaginal Bleeding/Spotting During Pregnancy - Causes and What to Do

Vaginal Bleeding/Spotting During Pregnancy - Causes and What to Do

When you are pregnant, it can be scary to suddenly see blood. Don’t panic quite yet. Some vaginal bleeding/spotting during pregnancy is normal and most women go on to have a healthy pregnancy. However, some cases can be more severe and require immediate medical attention. How can you tell which is which? Well, in this article, we will go over vaginal bleeding vs spotting, what causes each, and what to do when you experience it. 

Vaginal Bleeding vs Spotting

Bleeding/spotting during pregnancy is pretty common, particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy. However, it can be an indication of a larger problem occurring in your body. Not all vaginal bleeding is the same. There is a difference between vaginal bleeding during pregnancy and vaginal spotting. Vagina bleeding is typically heavy and can fill a pad, and it tends to be red in color. Vaginal spotting is typically a light brown or pink color and doesn’t even fill a panty liner. Vaginal bleeding/spotting can be caused by a multitude of reasons. 

What Causes Vaginal Spotting During Pregnancy?

Vaginal spotting during pregnancy is typically light pink/red or brown in color and usually doesn’t soak a panty liner. These small amounts of blood from the vagina can cause many women to panic, but typically it is not a cause for concern. 

Spotting in Pregnancy

Throughout your pregnancy, vaginal spotting can be a result of implantation bleeding, sex, an internal exam, an infection, or your mucus plug coming out. With each of these cases of spotting, reach out to a doctor to express your concern. They can put your mind at ease and perform more diagnostic tests, if necessary.


Implantation Bleeding: At the very beginning of your pregnancy when the embryo implants into the uterine wall, you may experience some spotting. This spotting is usually lighter than your period, but many women still mistake this for their period. Similarly, the bleeding may only last a few hours to a couple of days. Implantation bleeding is very normal and common.


Sex/Internal Exam: Throughout your pregnancy, your vagina and cervix become much more sensitive. The blood vessels are closer to the skin’s surface so any sort of minor irritations can cause bleeding. Sex and even a pap smear/cervical exam can irritate the vagina or cervix and cause bleeding. 


An Infection: If your cervix or vagina becomes infected or irritated you may experience some bleeding. Again, this is because of the delicate nature of your vagina/cervix at this time.

 

Mucus Plug (Preterm Labor): At the start of your labor your mucus plug (the lining which is holding your baby in your uterus) comes out. A small amount of spotting is normal and typically indicates the start of your labor.

What Causes Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy?

If you are experiencing a heavier blood flow, and the blood appears to be bright red in color, then you may be experiencing vaginal bleeding. Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is typically a sign of a larger problem with your pregnancy. It is important that you contact your doctor to rule out any possible problems.

Bleeding in Pregnancy

Bleeding during pregnancy can be caused by a multitude of health conditions. Some possible reasons you could be experiencing vaginal bleeding are because of an ectopic pregnancy, a molar pregnancy, a miscarriage, placenta previa, or placental abruption. 


Ectopic Pregnancy: An ectopic pregnancy occurs within the first few days or weeks of the pregnancy. This is when the embryo implants outside of the uterus, typically in the ovaries or the fallopian tube. This condition is life-threatening and needs to be treated as soon as possible by a medical professional. Other symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include light-headedness, fainting, shock, severe cramping or abdominal pain, and shoulder pain.


Molar Pregnancy: This condition occurs when a fertilized egg no longer becomess viable and becomes a mass of tissue. This tissue can continue to grow and expand in the uterus. Other symptoms of this condition include nausea, vomiting, and intense abdominal pain. Again, contact your physician if you experience any or all of these symptoms. 


Miscarriage: A miscarriage typically occurs when the placenta was not viable due to a genetic or chromosomal defect. This bleeding is typically very heavy and is accompanied by abdominal cramping and pain. A miscarriage usually occurs within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. 


Placenta Previa: Placenta previa can cause vaginal bleeding during pregnancy and requires immediate medical attention. This condition is when the placenta lies very low in the uterus and covers the birth canal.


Placental Abruption: A placenta abruption is when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall and a layer of blood forms between the placenta and the uterus. This condition is very serious and requires immediate medical attention.

What to Do When you Experience Vaginal Bleeding/Spotting

If at any point in your pregnancy you experience vaginal bleeding/spotting it is ok to seek out a doctor’s help. Even if it ends up being nothing to worry about it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms please talk to your doctor and seek medical help. 

Key Takeaways

Some vaginal bleeding or spotting during pregnancy is normal, but if it starts to become severe or painful you should probably call your doctor. There are a variety of reasons that vaginal bleeding and spotting can occur, and your physician is the best person to determine the cause of the problem. Many women who have vaginal spotting go on to have a normal and healthy pregnancy. Make sure you are taking care of yourself and your baby before and after your pregnancy. And let Bellefit make your postpartum journey smooth and pain-free with a postpartum girdle.


Bellefit postpartum girdles are postpartum garments designed to offer medical-grade compression to your abdomen. This pressure helps to align your muscle back into their original place and prevent you from hurting yourself. With the extra support provided, you can feel safe to perform your daily tasks without fear of hurting yourself or being in pain. Invest in your comfort and your future with a Bellefit postpartum girdle.
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Hannah Brown

  • Mar 18, 2021
  • Category: News