If I’m pregnant, why am I bleeding?
Pregnancy is divided into three stages called trimesters (tri meaning “three”). Each trimester is about 13 weeks long. Initial symptoms or indications that you may be pregnant are a missed period, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and light bleeding/spotting. If you are experiencing spotting or bleeding during the first trimester, it is actually very common.
- Spotting – light bleeding can occur during implantation. This is when the egg implants itself into the lining of the uterus between 6-12 days after fertilization. It can range in color from light pink to red. Sometimes women say that they still “had their period” while pregnant. However, this is actually bleeding associated with the pregnancy and not, by definition, a period. If you are having enough bleeding to full a pad or tampon, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.
- Cervical Changes – during pregnancy, there is extra blood flow to the cervix which can cause bleeding and is no cause for concern.
- Infection – any infection including an STI (STD) can also cause bleeding early in pregnancy. If you think you may be at risk for an STI, contact your doctor or health center that can screen for STIs and get treated before you get too far along. Depending on the STI and if left untreated, it could be passed from mother to infant and cause problems.
- Ectopic Pregnancy – this is when the embryo implants outside of the uterus, typically in the fallopian tube. This can cause bleeding because if the fetus continues to grow it can cause the tube to burst. Other symptoms include severe cramping, pain and even lightheadedness.
- Miscarriage – This tends to happen most commonly during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is when the body detects an abnormality in the embryo and will naturally terminate the pregnancy. Miscarriage can occur for numerous reasons and is not a reflection of anything the mother did or did not do to cause it. However, just because you may experience some bleeding does not mean that you will miscarry. If the bleeding becomes heavy (soaking a pad every hour) it may be cause for concern and you should consult your doctor or go to the ER or an urgent care facility. Other symptoms of miscarriage include severe abdominal cramping and tissue passing along with the bleeding.
It is important not to panic! Remember some bleeding during the first trimester is common. Contact an early diagnosis pregnancy center to verify the viability of the pregnancy and to get a healthy start. If you are experiencing severe cramping, pain or heavy bleeding go to your doctor or urgent care clinic.