Bleeding During Early Pregnancy
If you’ve had bleeding early in your pregnancy, you’re not alone. Many other pregnant women have had early bleeding, too. And in most cases, nothing is wrong. But your healthcare provider still needs to know about it. He or she may want to do tests to find out why you’re bleeding. Call your healthcare provider if you notice bleeding during pregnancy.
What causes early bleeding?
The cause of bleeding early in pregnancy is often unknown. But many factors early on in pregnancy may lead to bleeding or spotting. These include sexual intercourse, which may cause bleeding in any trimester. Here are some other causes:
Implantation of the embryo on the uterine wall
Subchorionic hemorrhage (bleeding between the sac membrane and the uterus)
Ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
If you notice spotting
Spotting (very light bleeding) is the most common type of bleeding in early pregnancy. If you notice it, call your healthcare provider. Chances are, he or she will tell you that you can care for yourself at home.
If tests are needed
Depending on how much you bleed, your healthcare provider may ask you to come in for some tests. A pelvic exam, for instance, can help see how far along your pregnancy is. You also may have an ultrasound or a Doppler test. These imaging tests use sound waves to check the health of your fetus. The ultrasound may be done on your belly or inside your vagina. Your healthcare provider also may order a special blood test. This test compares your hormone levels in blood samples taken 2 days apart. The results can help your healthcare provider learn more about the implantation of the embryo. Your blood type will also need to be checked to evaluate whether you will need to be treated for Rh sensitization.
If your bleeding doesn’t stop or if you notice any of the following, seek medical help right away:
Soaking a sanitary pad each hour
Bleeding like you’re having a period
Cramping or severe belly pain
Feeling dizzy or faint
Tissue passing through your vagina
Bleeding at any time after the first trimester
Questions you may be asked
Though not normal, bleeding early in pregnancy is common. If you’ve noticed any bleeding, you may be concerned. But keep in mind that bleeding alone doesn’t mean something is wrong. Call your healthcare provider right away, though. He or she may ask you questions like these to help find the cause of your bleeding:
When did your bleeding start?
Is your bleeding very light (spotting) or is it like a period?
Is the blood bright red or brownish?
Have you had sexual intercourse recently?
Have you had pain or cramping?
Have you felt dizzy or faint?
Monitoring your pregnancy
Bleeding will often stop as quickly as it began. Your pregnancy may go on a normal path again. You may need to make a few extra prenatal visits. But you and your baby will most likely be fine.
Online Medical Reviewer: Burd, Irina, MD, PhDFreeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNPImage reviewed by StayWell medical illustration team.
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2016
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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