Early Pregnancy Bleeding
If I'm pregnant, why am I bleeding?
There are many reasons for a woman to experience vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Some women experience regular monthly bleeding for the first trimester of their pregnancy and wonder how they can still have their period while being pregnant. The truth is they're not having a regular period, even though it comes on their normal cycle, and yes, they are pregnant.
The type of bleeding that occurs in some women is called decidual bleeding. However, many doctors simply refer to it as first trimester bleeding. It is the partial shedding of the uterine lining during the first few months of pregnancy and can be quite similar to regular menses, except lighter. It can trick a woman into thinking she isn't pregnant until other signs show up to cause questions. Decidual bleeding is considered to be harmless, but any time there is vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, the doctor should be consulted.
What Causes Decidual Bleeding?
The quick hormonal shifts that take place during the early part of pregnancy can cause ovulation - the release of an egg from the ovary - or they can cause the thickening of the uterine lining despite the fact there is a fertilized egg present. Around the time when the woman would normally have her menstrual period, the lining is shed from the uterus and it appears as though a regular period is taking place. If there are accompanying signs of pregnancy such as sore and swollen breasts, nausea, and fatigue, it is important to take a pregnancy test, even if menstruation seems to be normal. If a home pregnancy test shows a positive result, consult a doctor to have a blood test which will confirm a pregnancy.
In most cases, decidual bleeding will not cause harm to either mother or baby and most women who have decidual bleeding go on to have normal pregnancies and healthy babies. Although the numbers do vary, it is estimated that nearly one-third of pregnant women experience decidual bleeding during their pregnancies. However, even though the bleeding is considered to be relatively harmless, most experts encourage women to see their healthcare provider if there is any type of bleeding during pregnancy to rule out any type of serious condition or situation.