Periods During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, you have probably heard about other women who have their periods during pregnancy. This story seems to cycle throughout the generations and is almost an urban legend now. Everyone seems to know someone who has a friend who got their period during their pregnancy!
Many women can experience episodes of bleeding and spotting during pregnancy. Bleeding is especially common in the first trimester and about 30% of pregnant women experience bleeding during this time. Although fewer women bleed during the second and third trimesters, spotting is still possible and not all that uncommon. However, though this bleeding may resemble menstruation, it actually is something different altogether.
Why You Can’t Get Your Period During Pregnancy
Your period is caused by your menstrual cycle. During this cycle, your body releases hormones, which send signals to your reproductive organs to perform certain actions. An increase in your hormones causes your ovaries to release an egg that travels from your ovaries through your fallopian tubes. Meanwhile, a protective layer of blood and tissue thickens along the walls of your uterus. If this egg is not fertilized, your hormone levels will drop, signaling to your body that it is time to shed the lining t
hat built up in your uterus. This is what causes your period.
During pregnancy, your body is completely focused on providing for your baby. Your brain sends signals to your ovaries to stop the menstrual cycle in order to give your baby the proper environment to grow. As a result, instead of dropping, your hormone levels will continue to rise for the next nine months. This helps your uterus prepare for the growth and nourishment of your baby.
If your body continued to have regular menstrual periods while you were pregnant, it would be shedding the uterine lining that helps nourish your baby every month. Biologically speaking, this wouldn’t make much sense. Therefore, the spotting or bleeding during pregnancy many women experience is caused by something other than their period.
One of the most common causes of period-like bleeding during pregnancy is called decidual bleeding. Sometimes, during pregnancy, your body’s hormones can get out of whack, causing you to lose parts of the lining of your uterus. This is especially common in the early stages of pregnancy, before the lining has completely attached to the placenta. While it can be troublesome to think about shedding part if your uterine lining, decidual bleeding is generally not thought to be a health threat to you or your baby.
There are a number of other reasons why bleeding during pregnancy may occur. Most of them present little health risk to you and your little one. However, bleeding can sometimes indicate a complication with your pregnancy. If you are pregnant, it is important to be aware of your bleeding. If you experience any abnormal bleeding at any point during your pregnancy, contact your health care provider immediately.
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