Bleeding During Pregnancy
There are many different reasons that a woman may have vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Some women can continue to have light periods or spotting during pregnancy, especially during the first few months. A pregnancy test would probably help to ease your mind. A visit to your practitioner may also be in order, either for early pregnancy care or to find out the reasons for your symptoms. Here is a comprehensive list of the many possible causes.
Early Pregnancy and Implantation Bleeding
Are you experiencing first trimester bleeding? It's estimated that 25% of all women have bleeding in early pregnancy. One possible cause of this bleeding is implantation bleeding.
What is Implantation Bleeding?
Implantation bleeding is lighter than menstrual bleeding, and consists of pink or brown colored blood. Implantation bleeding occurs when the trophoblast, or tissue that surrounds the egg, attaches to the endometrium and slowly eats its way into the lining. As it does so, it eats through the mother's blood vessels, forming blood lakes within itself. When these blood lakes form near the surface of the trophoblast, they often cause implantation bleeding.
Remember, the difference between period and implantation bleeding is the amount; implantation bleeding is considerably lighter than menstrual bleeding. Menses and implantation bleeding should be different enough so that you can tell. Here are some frequently asked questions about spotting:
When does implantation bleeding occur?
Usually 5-12 days after ovulation, so just around the time that you would be getting your period. Bleeding during ovulation is something different.
What does implantation bleeding look like?
Implantation bleeding signs are a light pink or brown colored spotting.
How long does implantation bleeding last?
The duration varies for each woman.
Bleeding while pregnant doesn't mean that miscarriage is certain, but it can occur. About half of the women who bleed do not have miscarriages. Miscarriage can occur at any time during the first half of pregnancy. Most occur during the first 12 weeks. Miscarriage occurs in about 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies. If you think you have passed fetal tissue, take it to the doctor's office so it can be examined.
Most miscarriages cannot be prevented. They are often the body's way of dealing with a pregnancy that was not normal. There is no proof that exercise or sex causes miscarriage.
Another problem that may cause pain and bleeding in early pregnancy is ectopic pregnancy. If pregnancy occurs in a fallopian tube, it may burst. Ectopic pregnancies are much less common than miscarriages. They occur in about one in 60 pregnancies.
A rare cause of early bleeding is molar pregnancy. It is also called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) or simply a "mole." It is the growth of abnormal tissue instead of an embryo.
The causes of bleeding in the second half of pregnancy differ from those in early pregnancy. Common conditions that cause minor bleeding include an inflamed cervix or growths on the cervix.
The placenta may detach from the uterine wall before or during labor. This may cause vaginal bleeding. Only 1 percent of pregnant women have experience placental abruption. It usually occurs during the last 12 weeks of pregnancy. Stomach pain often occurs, even if there is no obvious bleeding.
When the placenta lies low in the uterus, it may partly or completely cover the cervix. This is called placenta previa. It may cause vaginal bleeding. Placenta previa is serious and requires prompt care.
Late in pregnancy, vaginal bleeding may be a sign of labor. A plug that covers the opening of the uterus during pregnancy is passed just before or at the start of labor. A small amount of mucus and blood is passed from the cervix. This is called "bloody show." It is common. It is not a problem if it happens within a few weeks of your due date.
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