Bleeding During Pregnancy: What's Normal and What's Not?

From the first glimpse of a positive line on a home pregnancy test to holding your new baby in your arms, there is nothing like the journey to parenthood. For some women, however, there can be a bump in the road like bleeding. Though it is no doubt scary and can indicate a serious problem, there are also times it is nothing to worry about.

Here at Holistic OB/GYN & Midwifery located in Passaic Park, New Jersey, midwives, and highly trained staff provide expert care to women in all phases of their lives. Whether you're looking for typical gynecological services or are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, we strive for a holistic approach focused on complete wellness. Our practice also collaborates with several doctors for high-risk pregnancies and deliveries or complications such as serious bleeding.

Bleeding causes

First trimester

Particularly during the first trimester, bleeding is relatively common and is not always a cause for alarm. For example, implantation bleeding may occur when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. This typically happens 6-12 days after conception and may result in light bleeding lasting from several hours to a few days. Intercourse or a Pap test can also lead to bleeding and is not a reason to worry.

Sometimes, however, bleeding can indicate an issue. You may experience this symptom if you have an issue with your cervix such as an infection, inflammation, or a growth. Bleeding can also occur in cases of an ectopic pregnancy when the fertilized embryo implants outside the uterus, in a molar pregnancy when abnormal tissue grows in the uterus in place of a baby, and during a miscarriage.

Second and third trimester

Bleeding later in your pregnancy may possibly mean there is a problem, and you should quickly seek medical advice. Potential causes could be placenta previa, which occurs when the placenta is located low in the uterus covering some or all of the birth canal or placenta abruption, a condition in which the placenta detaches from the uterus wall. Other reasons could be a premature opening of the cervix known as incompetent cervix, preterm labor or miscarriage. If you've had a previous C-section, there is a rare chance it could be a uterine rupture.

End of pregnancy

Some women may experience a mix of mucus and light bleeding near the end of pregnancy, which could indicate labor is beginning.

If you're experiencing any bleeding, you should call your health care practitioner. Also, wear a pad to track how much blood you’ve shed, and note its color (pink, red, brown) and consistency (smooth or full of clots). If you have severe bleeding or pain, discharge that has tissue in it, dizziness, fainting or fever higher than 100.4, you should go to the emergency room immediately. 

Whether you're thinking about starting a family or are already pregnant and looking for your medical support team, call us at 973-352-7783 to make an appointment today.

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