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Spotting during early pregnancy

Spotting and bleeding in early pregnancy is more common than you think but doesn’t always mean there will result in something alarming. Almost 25% of pregnant women will experience some bleeding during their pregnancy without resulting in a miscarriage or other serious implications. But yes, there is a possibility that bleeding will result in a miscarriage too.

How much spotting is normal during early pregnancy?

Spotting or light bleeding during pregnancy is common, especially during the first trimester. Spotting exists when you notice a few drops of blood occasionally in your underwear, or if you wipe yourself with tissue and see a little blood on the paper. There should not be enough blood to fill a panty liner.  It is common for pregnant women to experience spotting during their first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but then go on to have a healthy pregnancy overall.

Bleeding on the other hand is a heavier flow of blood, and you’ll probably need to wear a pad. Whether it is bleeding or spotting, it is best to contact your doctor and describe what you are experiencing.

Causes of spotting or bleeding.

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Infections
  • Implantation bleeding. When a fertilized egg attaches, or implants, to the lining of the uterus, some women notice light bleeding or spotting. There are times though that implantation bleeding may just be an earlier beginning of the menstrual cycle, so it is important to wait the 2 week window before testing for a pregnancy. 
  • Hormone changes
  • Changes in the cervix
  • Certain types of testing during pregnancy like an amniocentesis or Chorionic villus sampling (CVS).  These are tests that are performed to check for genetic abnormalities in your baby. 
  • Problems related to smoking. If you smoke, it’s best to stop before pregnancy or as soon as you know you’re pregnant.

What to do during spotting or bleeding in pregnancy.

First of all, you should not panic and then you should contact your doctor while you keep track of the spotting/bleeding quantity and color. You should also stop any sexual intercourse during the time of bleeding and preferably not use tampons. 

Spotting or bleeding in the first trimester that may indicate a serious issue.

There may be cases that blood in early pregnancy indicate the above:

  1. Miscarriage
  2. Ectopic pregnancy: This is when a fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus and begins to grow. An ectopic pregnancy cannot result in the birth of a baby. 
  3. Molar pregnancy: This is when a mass of tissue forms inside the womb, instead of a baby. Molar pregnancy is rare.

Spotting or bleeding later in pregnancy that may indicate a serious issue.

If you experience bleeding after the first trimester it is more concerning and needs the immediate attention of your doctor. It may indicate one of the above:

  • Preterm labor. This is labor that happens too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Placenta previa. This is when the placenta lies very low in the uterus and covers all or part of the cervix.
  • Placenta accreta.  This is when the placenta grows into the wall of the uterus too deeply.
  • Placental abruption. This is when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth.
  • Uterine rupture. This is when the uterus tears during labor. This happens very rarely. It can happen if you have a scar in the uterus from a prior c-section or another kind of surgery on the uterus.

Treatment of spotting and bleeding.

Depending on the cause of bleeding, your doctor may suggest bed rest, limiting physical exercise, better hydration, and staying away from sexual intercourse, after carefully performing the necessary testing.

Although a magical period of time, pregnancy is also a very stressful time for women, but it doesn’t have to be this way if you have a doctor you can trust and communicate with at all times.

Contact us if you are at the beginning of your fertility journey and want to learn more information about the available fertility doctors and clinics in Greece.

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Spotting during early pregnancy