What Causes Bleeding During Pregnancy?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Any bleeding during pregnancy should be reported to a midwife or doctor immediately.
Any bleeding during pregnancy should be reported to a midwife or doctor immediately.

Bleeding during pregnancy can be frightening, since many people associate bleeding with miscarriage. In fact, there are a number of reasons for a pregnant woman to experience bleeding, and bleeding is not necessarily abnormal. Any bleeding or spotting should be reported to a doctor or midwife, and women should also wear pads or panty liners so that they can keep track of how much they are bleeding, as this information may be important when a medical care provider evaluates the situation.

Miscarriage is one cause of bleeding during pregnancy.
Miscarriage is one cause of bleeding during pregnancy.

In early pregnancy, some common causes for bleeding include an infection, implantation bleeding, and cervical changes. During pregnancy, the cervix changes to prepare for birth, and it is not uncommon for women to experience bleeding after a pelvic exam or after sex. Bleeding during pregnancy can also occur because a woman is experiencing a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, or a molar pregnancy. All of these situations require medical attention and evaluation.

It is not uncommon for a pregnant woman to experience bleeding after a pelvic exam.
It is not uncommon for a pregnant woman to experience bleeding after a pelvic exam.

As a pregnancy progresses, bleeding during pregnancy is more likely to be associated with problems with the placenta such as placenta previa or placental abruption. It can also be a sign of pre-term labor. Bleeding during pregnancy has also been linked with cancers of the reproductive tract, most classically cervical cancer.

Bleeding alone is not necessarily a bad sign, although it should still be reported to a midwife or doctor. If bleeding is accompanied with other symptoms such as cramping, fever, nausea, vomiting, and so forth, these symptoms can indicate that a serious problem is occurring with the pregnancy. When a woman calls her health care provider to report bleeding during pregnancy, she should report any additional symptoms she is experiencing, as these will help the doctor determine whether or not the woman needs to come in to be seen.

Bleeding during early pregnancy may be caused by infection.
Bleeding during early pregnancy may be caused by infection.

Women who have experienced a history of miscarriage or other problems during pregnancy should make sure that their care providers are aware of this history when they report bleeding during pregnancy. For pregnant women who are going to be traveling, it can be a good idea to bring along a brief letter from a doctor discussing the pregnancy; the letter can provide any information which might be relevant to another care provider if the woman is forced to seek medical attention. The important thing to remember when seeking care for bleeding during pregnancy is that stress can be dangerous for the developing fetus, so it is important to stay as calm as possible, even though the situation can be scary.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

ElizaBennett

@MissDaphne - I'm glad you shared your experience, because it's so easy to be frightened by spotting or bleeding during pregnancy and it's most often nothing to worry about. That's not to say you shouldn't call your doctor or even go to the ER, like you did - you absolutely should.

But while you're waiting, there's no need to panic. There's a good chance that everything will be fine. And stay off the Internet! It can be a terrifying place when you're pregnant.

MissDaphne

One thing to note about bleeding during early pregnancy is that it's different from spotting. Spotting is brown or pink and it's often caused by a little bruising of the cervix from sex or exercise.

Bleeding is bright red, and it is definitely more ominous.

I experienced pretty scary bleeding at about six weeks of pregnancy.It wasn't red, but it was a pretty heavy flow, like a period. Since I had some cramping, too, I was convinced I was having a miscarriage. I was at the ER for probably five long, scary hours before I found out everything was OK.

It turned out to be a subchorionic hemorrhage, basically just a burst blood vessel. They're really common and usually not dangerous. But that can be a cause of quite noticeable bleeding or spotting!

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Any bleeding during pregnancy should be reported to a midwife or doctor immediately.
      By: Monkey Business
      Any bleeding during pregnancy should be reported to a midwife or doctor immediately.
    • Miscarriage is one cause of bleeding during pregnancy.
      By: olesiabilkei
      Miscarriage is one cause of bleeding during pregnancy.
    • It is not uncommon for a pregnant woman to experience bleeding after a pelvic exam.
      By: Zsolnai Gergely
      It is not uncommon for a pregnant woman to experience bleeding after a pelvic exam.
    • Bleeding during early pregnancy may be caused by infection.
      By: 9nong
      Bleeding during early pregnancy may be caused by infection.
    • Bleeding late in pregnancy can be a sign of an issue with the placenta.
      By: LanaK
      Bleeding late in pregnancy can be a sign of an issue with the placenta.