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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. They 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, such as sexual intercourse or a recent pap test, may lead to bleeding. This bleeding may have little impact on the health of your pregnancy. But sometimes bleeding in early pregnancy is a symptom of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy that needs further evaluation by your healthcare provider.

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. If you are spotting but have no pain or have mild cramping, chances are, they will tell you that you can care for yourself at home. You should not have sexual intercourse until the bleeding stops.

If tests are needed

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 baby. The ultrasound may be done in 1 of 2 ways, either the wand is placed over 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 show how long you’ve been pregnant. It can also show whether the pregnancy is progressing normally.

Warning signs

If your bleeding doesn’t stop or if you notice any of the following, get medical help right away:

  • Soaking a sanitary pad each hour

  • Bleeding like you’re having a period

  • Cramping or severe abdominal pain

  • Feeling dizzy or faint

  • Tissue coming out from 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. They 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 will likely go on a normal path again, but you may need to make a few extra prenatal visits. Your healthcare provider will help come up with a plan specific to your situation.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 4/1/2019
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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