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Spotting During Pregnancy – What’s Normal and What’s Not?

By Sangeetha

Is spotting normal during first trimester of pregnancy?

When does spotting occur during pregnancy?

What causes brown or pink spotting during early pregnancy?

What is the difference between spotting and bleeding during pregnancy?

This post gives you answer to all your queries on spotting during pregnancy.

It is certainly alarming for a pregnant lady to discover blood coming from vagina. But it is not every time that spotting is unusual or alarming.

Spotting During Pregnancy – What’s Normal and What’s Not?

Difference between bleeding and spotting during pregnancy:

Let us understand the difference between spotting and bleeding first.

Spotting is light bleeding; you can spot the blood stains in your panty liner or may find blood while you wipe your vagina. It is usually pink or brown in color. While bleeding is heavy flow of blood, similar to what we experience in our periods and it is red in color.

Spotting in early weeks of pregnancy especially when your period is due is common. Bleeding during early pregnancy on the other hand is not so common and when it is accompanied by cramps or headache, it is to be taken seriously and needs immediate medical attention.

5 Causes of bleeding and spotting during pregnancy period:

There are a couple of factors that might lead to bleeding or spotting during pregnancy, let us understand them.

1. Implantation bleeding

Implantation bleeding happens when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining. The attachment can cause your uterine lining to shed off, which is accompanied by vaginal discharge of blood.

Implantation bleeding is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. You can also refer to the 11 symptoms of pregnancy before missed period.

You might feel you are having your period, especially if it continues for more than a day, but you need to look in to the nature of bleeding.

Implantation bleeding is a pinkish -brownish colored vaginal discharge. It is scanty in nature and can continue for a day or 2.

Some women may not experience implantation bleeding or might not even notice it. It occurs generally 2-7 days before your period is due.

Implantation bleeding does not need any medical attention unless the bleeding persists or is followed by nausea, cramps or vomiting.

2. Ectopic pregnancy

In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg moves in to the uterus and gets attached to the lining. But in some rare cases the egg stays in the fallopian tube, in some cases the fertilized egg might get attached to other organs as well like ovary, abdominal cavity or even cervix. This generally happens to 1 of 60 women and is more common in women between the age group of 35-44 years.

Ectopic pregnancy might cause the fallopian tube to inflame or rapture causing bleeding.

If in early stages of pregnancy you experience bleeding along with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sharp pain in abdomen, pelvis, neck or shoulder, you should definitely contact your doctor at the earliest.

3. Miscarriage

Miscarriage is loss of pregnancy.

Most miscarriage happens in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. As sad and shocking miscarriages can be, it is also important to know that the chances of recurrence to miscarriage in your next pregnancy are very less.

Chromosomal imbalances are generally to be blamed for early miscarriage. For development of an embryo, right amount of normal chromosome are required and an imbalance can lead to end of pregnancy at embryo stage.

The most common sign of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding; it can be light or heavy, constant or irregular. It can be followed by abdominal cramps, blood clot or grayish tissue passing from vagina.

4. Placental problem

One of my friend experienced bleeding in her 4 th month of pregnancy and it lasted for about 3 weeks. After couple of ultrasounds the doctors identified the source of bleeding was from placentas development site. After proper medical treatment she went on to deliver a beautiful baby boy.

Placenta previa and placenta abruption are again causes of bleeding in late pregnancy, after 20 weeks.

Placenta previa is a condition where placenta is near or covering the opening of the uterus. Placenta abruption happens when placenta detaches prematurely from the uterus. Both the conditions are followed by heavy bleeding and needs immediate medical attention.

5. Other causes

Infections, both vaginal and sexually transmitted can also lead to bleeding. Cervix becomes tender at the time of pregnancy, so an internal exam or intercourse might inflame or irritate it causing spotting or bleeding. Premature labor or normal labor can also lead to bleeding.

The rule is simple. If spotting/bleeding is accompanied by other factors like severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain then seek immediate medical attention.

Have you had spotting during pregnancy? How did you deal with it? Please share with me your experience in comments.


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