Vaginal Bleeding - A Common Pregnancy Situation
Pregnant Or Ovulating?
During the first trimester of pregnancy vaginal bleeding or spotting may occur and is not usually a sign of problems. When pregnancy implantation bleeding happens, it is usually very light and over within a few hours. As the embryo finds its place within the uterus and burrows into the wall of the womb, some bleeding may be generated, along with some abdominal cramping or pain. Implantation bleeding is very common and as long as it stops quickly, there is no cause for concern. Many women experience some spotting and bleeding during ovulation as well. Since it comes between menstrual periods, this type of vaginal bleeding is an indication that ovulation has taken place. There is little difference between ovulation bleeding and implantation bleeding, both are common and appear similarly. Testing to determine the levels of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), the pregnancy hormone, may be done as well as testing for Rh factor in the blood. Both of these substances can cause vaginal bleeding during pregnancy and testing can help eliminate concern.
Monitoring The Bleeding
There are other causes for vaginal bleeding that are common and not of great concern during early pregnancy. However, if there is bleeding at all during pregnancy, it is a good idea to wear a pad or panty liner in order to monitor the amount of blood being passed and the type of bleeding that is occurring. Vaginal spotting or bleeding in early pregnancy can be caused by a cervical infection or can even be triggered in the cervix by sex. Vaginal discharge in pregnancy can also be a sign of infection. When it happens later in pregnancy, vaginal bleeding can indicate problems. It is always wise to report vaginal bleeding and vaginal discharge to the doctor. While it may be something very manageable, it can also indicate something more serious.
It May Not Be A Miscarriage
Although vaginal bleeding may be a sign of miscarriage, it doesn't mean that a miscarriage is imminent. Studies have shown that some degree of vaginal bleeding occurs in 20-30% of pregnancies in the early stages. About 50% of women who do bleed during pregnancy do not have miscarriages. But, the majority of miscarriages do occur in the first trimester and most of them cannot be prevented. Between 15-20% of pregnancies end up miscarried. Often, miscarriage is the body's way of dealing with a problematic or unhealthy pregnancy and does not usually interfere with future pregnancies.
In the second trimester, some of the common causes of vaginal bleeding include infection or growths on the cervix. Bleeding that happens late in a pregnancy is a cause for concern and the physician should be notified immediately. Bleeding at this stage can be dangerous for both mother and baby. Two conditions that cause vaginal bleeding during pregnancy include placental abruption and placenta previa. Placental abruption is caused when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall before or during labor. It usually happens in the last trimester of pregnancy and is accompanied by bleeding and stomach pain. The serious condition called placenta previa occurs when the placenta sits low in the uterus and either fully or partially covers the cervix. It occurs in 1 in 200 pregnancies and requires immediate intervention. Placenta previa presents with bleeding and no pain, but is dangerous because it cuts the oxygen supply to the baby.
The Possibility Of Preterm Labor
Preterm labor occurs before 37 weeks gestation and should be treated immediately. All of the signs of preterm labor are consistent with labor, except they happen too far ahead of the due date, posing danger to the unborn baby. Signs of preterm labor include vaginal discharge that is watery, mucus, or bloody, low backache with dull pain, pelvic pain or pressure in the lower abdomen, stomach cramps, and regular contractions. Preterm labor can be stopped if caught in time with the use of certain drugs to stop the labor and subsequent bed rest until the woman is closer to the due date.