Vaginal spotting or bleeding during pregnancy is common and generally happens during the first trimester. It is not really a cause of alarm but sometimes it can be serious as it can lead to miscarriage. It is important to know the cause of vaginal spotting during pregnancy and to get it checked by the doctor so as to ensure whether it is serious or not. The following are some of the causes of vaginal spotting or bleeding during pregnancy:
- Sex-in some cases, vaginal spotting may be caused due to sex because more blood tends to flow to the cervix during pregnancy. A cervical polyp can be the cause of bleeding after sex.
- A Pap smear or internal exam-because of the greater blood flow to the cervix or a cervical polyp, women may have bleeding if they have had a pap smear or an internal exam.
- Infections-spotting can also be caused due to some reasons which may be not related to pregnancy itself such as infections. A vaginal infection or a sexually transmitted one may sometimes lead to the cervix becoming inflamed or irritated. This can also lead to vaginal spotting during pregnancy.
- Miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy-spotting can also be a cause of a miscarriage during the early days or first trimester of pregnancy. This can also be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy especially if it is accompanied with abdominal pain. An ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening and hence if you bleed then you must let your doctor know about it during the first trimester.
- Placental problems or premature labor-another common cause of vaginal spotting during pregnancy is any type of a placental problem. Placental problems can cause spotting during the second or third trimester. Infact in some cases when bleeding happens in the first trimester, then that too could be due to an underlying problem of the placenta.
- Nearing labor-sometimes when the body is preparing for labor, the cervix will begin to dilate and a tingle of blood may flow. This is also termed as ‘blood show’. But if you have passed the first 37 weeks then passing of the mucus plug is not something to be very worried about.
How is Vaginal Spotting Different from Bleeding?
It is important to know the difference between vaginal spotting and bleeding. Spotting is very light bleeding and is very similar to the bleeding that you have at the beginning or end of a period. This can vary in color from pink to brown to red.
When to call the Doctor?
You must call the doctor or the midwife in any of the following situations:
- In case of heavy bleeding
- In case of bleeding accompanied with pain and cramping
- When bleeding is accompanied with dizziness
- When there is pain in the belly or the pelvic area.
Even if the bleeding has stopped, you will still need to call the doctor or the midwife. This is to ensure that the bleeding wasn’t a sign or miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.