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Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

by Aziza · November 17, 2020

This detailed guide on bleeding in early pregnancy tells you what to do in case you experience something like this during your pregnancy.

  • Why does bleeding happen during pregnancy?
  • Causes of Bleeding
  • Bleeding in Second Third and Third Trimester
  • Diagnosis and Treatment


Why Does Bleeding Happen During Pregnancy?

When you conceive, your body starts undergoing a lot of changes; some visible and others not. The first trimester, when conception happens, essentially changes your bodily systems quite dramatically. You might not see many physical changes in your body in first trimester but be sure that your body is doing wonders inside.

During the first trimester, the embryo attaches itself to the uterine wall and make your body undergo changes. Your hormone levels rise, new blood flow system is built, bodily organs and systems like brain, heart, digestive system, bones, eyesight, etc. start to develop.
The embryo planting itself in the uterus and other changes can make you experience light bleeding or spotting, or bleeding in the first trimester. The first trimester ranges from week 1 to week 12. This is very normal in any pregnancy.
The bleeding can happen in some cases around the time your period is due which can make you mistake it for your period and make you miss the signs of pregnancy. But all signs of bleeding are not harmless.
You need to track and understand the symptoms that you experience because some can harm you and your pregnancy. Miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies can also cause bleeding and you need to be able to get help in these cases to counter any harm.


What are the Causes of Bleeding During Early Pregnancy?

There are many causes for this kind of bleeding, and it is important to track changes in order to understand your pregnancy and prevent any lasting harm to you and your body.


During early days of pregnancy (about 6 to 12 days) when embryo tries to plant itself on the uterine wall, you might experience bleeding or spotting. It is quite normal to experience this bleeding as it is a sign of development of new life. The connection with uterus is what provide life sustaining nutrition and oxygen to the uterus which is why it is extremely important.
Bleeding caused by implantation occurs around the time you might expect your period which can make you mistake it for period and ignore signs of pregnancy. It is important to distinguish between pregnancy and periods.
The symptoms of PMS and pregnancy can be very similar like cramps, tender breast and backache that makes it difficult to distinguish between them. How you can distinguish between them is to gauge how long your cycle lasts and how heavy you bleed.
Implantation bleeding is generally quite light and does not last longer than a few hours to a few days. It is also pinkish or brownish in colour as opposed to dark red of period bleeding.


If, in your first trimester, you experience bleeding that starts with spotting but goes on to become heavy bleeding, you need to see your doctor immediately. This could be because you are miscarrying. This can be because of a lot of reasons and not entirely in your hands.
You might experience heavy bleeding, severe cramps, blood clots, preterm labor pain in lower stomach and back. You should call your doctor immediately in case of these symptoms. Sometimes you might have these symptoms without having miscarried, so it is important that you contact your doctor as soon as possible to get treatment.

Ectopic Pregnancy:

Ectopic Pregnancy occurs when the fertilized embryo plants itself wrongly in places other than uterus like fallopian tubes. Fallopian tubes connect ovaries-where eggs are produced-and uterus. The embryo needs uterine wall to grow and receive its nutrition from.
It is important that this condition is medically treated as soon as possible as it is not stable. This can be done through an operation or medicines. Some of its symptoms are bleeding, brown watery discharge, cramps, discomfort while peeing and rectal pain.

Molar Pregnancy:

Molar pregnancy happens because of some complication which prevents the embryo from planting and growing in uterus. Instead a placental tissue starts growing abnormally. This kind of pregnancy may result in a miscarriage and is also a rare condition.
You might experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, bleeding of red to brown colour and pain in abdomen. In rare cases, the placental tissue can be cancerous and may spread to other parts of the body.

Cervical Changes:

Some changes might occur in your cervix which could be because of any reason leading to bleeding. During pregnancy, there is extra blood flow to the cervix which causes bleeding. Hence a detailed pelvic exam is needed. Some examples that can cause bleeding are sex during pregnancy and pap test.


Any infection in your vagina, urinary tract or bladder can cause bleeding. It can happen because of sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, herpes, etc. It can cause complications, bleeding and can also be transmitted to the foetus during birth.
It can also be because of infection caused by other bacteria and viruses. An example is of vaginitis can also cause bleeding.


Polyps that form in cervix can also cause bleeding. Polyps are finger like growth that cause irritation and infection causing bleeding.
These are some of the reasons you might faced bleeding in early stages of your pregnancy. Bleeding by no means is limited to first trimester. It can also happen in second and third trimester which you will know about further on.

Subchorionic Hemorrhage:

It is a king of hematoma that happens when placenta detached itself from the wall of the womb. These hematomas can cause bleeding. Many women with hematomas go on to have perfectly healthy pregnancies but in others it can increase the risk of miscarriage.


Second and Third Trimester Bleeding:

If you experience bleeding in second and third trimester, its generally quite serious and you should get it treated as soon as possible.

Premature Labour:

Premature labour pains can cause bleeding and may cause complications in your pregnancy and delivery.

Placental Abruption:

Before or during labour, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall causing bleeding.

Placenta previa:

Placenta might be attached to a lower part in uterus causing bleeding which usually is painless. The placenta is usually near or covering the cervix. In this case, the bleeding can be intense and may put you in a state of pregnancy loss.


You might have sign of miscarriage even before that might have happened. This can also result in bleeding.

Vasa Praevia:

It is a rare condition where baby’s blood vessels run through membranes covering the cervix. Bleeding occurs when water breaks risking loss of blood for the baby.

When To See The Doctor:

You should immediately go see your doctor if you experience heavy bleeding, discharge of blood clots, pains and cramps, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It is important that you go see your doctor soon if you experience bleeding so that it doesn’t worsen your condition or puts your life or your foetus’s in danger.



The doctor will perform physical examination and certain tests to clearly identify the reasons of bleeding. As we have stated that bleeding can be related to pregnancy and non-pregnancy related issues or when the status of conception is not known. Therefore, it is important that you get to know your status first.

A few simple blood tests can take care of that. Ultrasounds can specifically pinpoint problems that are causing bleeding. Based on the cause, you will be given treatments. If it is serious or a risk to your or your baby’s life, you might be kept in hospital under observation. This also depends on how far into the pregnancy you are.
If you experience bleeding in second or third trimester, the risk is far greater, and you should not waste any time in going to see a doctor.


The treatment of bleeding depends upon the cause of the bleeding. If it is a polyp, you can be given medication or surgery. If it is related to your pregnancy, there are other treatments and medications for it.
If your pregnancy is in danger and has to be terminated, the doctor makes a decision of prescribing certain medications like methotrexate (for ectopic pregnancy) and misoprostol (for terminating early pregnancy).
In case of miscarriage or termination of pregnancy, see a doctor to find out when is it okay to start trying again if that’s hat you want. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. It is important that you see your therapist after such a testing time in your life as you are very prone to depression and anxiety at this point in your life.
Bleeding During Pregnancy Is Not Your Fault…
Some women blame themselves during these trying times of their lives. It is to let them know that most of the time the causes of bleeding that may put you in life-altering situations is out of your hands. It is not your fault that this happens. It is important for you to know.
You just need to know when you should go and see a doctor if you experience something like this so that you can be treated. Also, a lot of pregnant women who experience bleeding go on to have healthy pregnancy and healthy children, so it does not always harm your pregnancy. I hope this article provide you with information to help you along in your journey.

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