Bleeding During Pregnancy – When Is It Normal and When Abnormal?

Any kind of bleeding during pregnancy can be scary for a pregnant woman. However it is important to remember that not all bleeding during the first part of pregnancy is dangerous or cause for concern. It is bleeding in the second and third trimester that is most likely a cause for concern. As a matter of caution, all bleeding during pregnancy should be reported to the doctor promptly.

Bleeding during the first trimester

Bleeding During PregnancyImplantation bleeding is very common in the first trimester – this occurs about 10 to 14 days after conception or when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus.

This is no cause for worry. As more blood flows to the site of the cervix, this area can become soft and this could result in some harmless bleeding as well.

Sometimes it could be that cervical tenderness causes bleeding after sexual intercourse. In this case, sex should be refrained from until a doctor is consulted.

Certain kinds of infections of the urinary tract, or the pelvic area could also result in bleeding and this should be reported as well.

Serious conditions such as an ectopic pregnancy, cervical cancer, a miscarriage or a molar pregnancy could also result in bleeding during pregnancy and as a rule all pregnancy bleeding should be reported.

Second and third trimester bleeding

Bleeding during this latter part of pregnancy is almost always cause for concern. The cause for this could be a miscarriage, which needs urgent medical attention. It could be preterm labor which will also include a premature opening of the cervix and pain, which causes the bleeding.

Problems in the cervix such as infection, inflammation, or abnormal growths in the area could also cause bleeding during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

In very rare cases it could be a uterine rupture (a life threatening condition) that causes bleeding. This can occur at the site of a previous surgical scar when a woman has undergone a previous C section.

Problems with the placenta such as Placenta Previa (where the placenta wholly or partly covers the cervix) and Placenta abruption (a rare condition where the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus wholly or in part) could also cause bleeding during pregnancy.

Towards the end of the pregnancy, some kinds of bleeding may be considered normal – as the cervix begins to efface and prepare for labor, the mucus plug that protects the baby from the outside could dislodge and come out, accompanied by some bleeding. This bloody “show” is not usually a reason to worry.


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