breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy

Breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy is never healthy but is relatively common. Most women who have some light spotting continue to have a healthy pregnancy. So, don’t panic even though nobody wants to see any blood when pregnant, of course.

Bleeding in early pregnancy can occur in about 15 in 100 people that also accompanied by common issues like back pain and lower abdominal pain. Is it normal to have breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy before the first eight weeks? Every section links to each other. Keep on reading to find out!

Why am I bleeding in early pregnancy?

Bleeding usually results from disruption of blood vessels in the decidua or discrete cervical or vaginal lesions. Bleeding in early pregnancy (light spotting) is common, especially in the first trimester. Hormonal bleeding can cause for many reasons in early pregnancy, including severe and that can affect the fertility itself.

Continued bleeding is bad throughout early pregnancy, however. Call your doctor quickly if you are bleeding heavily.

Here is a rundown of what it could be for severe bleeding in early pregnancy.

  1. Implantation bleeding
  2. Miscarriage
  3. Ectopic pregnancy
  4. Molar pregnancy (gestational trophoblastic disease)
  5. Cervical changes

1. Implantation bleeding

Implantation bleeding is light bleeding that can happen in 10 – 14 days after becoming pregnant. And yes! It’s an early sign of pregnancy. For some women, this bleeding can last for a day, and for some women, this can last for a little longer.

Implantation bleeding is a common situation when it comes to breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy that is usually pinkish and sometimes brown!

Some women don’t get implantation periods, and some may even don’t notice, and some may mistake it for a light period.

Implantation bleeding signs and symptoms:

  • Early bleeding with brown or pinkish blood
  • Light and faint cramping
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Mood swings
  • Breast tenderness
  • Lower backaches
  • Tiredness

Implantation bleeding treatment

There won’t be a need for any treatment for implantation breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy. Bleeding caused by implantation usually clears up within one or two days. Doctors recommend not to use any tampons during this period. You should visit your doctor if you suffer from server bleeding during this period.

2. Miscarriage

Miscarriage is a term we describe for a pregnancy that ends on its own before 20 weeks! 8 out of 10 miscarriage situations happen in the early three months! This condition is the most common type of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

ACOG also highly recommends that after 2 or 3 repeated miscarriages, you should have a physical exam and testing.

Studies estimated that 26% of pregnancies and up to 10% of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage.

Miscarriage causes and risk factors

It’s hard to identify the reason for a miscarriage, but it’s not because of something that the pregnant woman did! Activities like sex, exercise, taking medicines, or even minor injuries won’t cause miscarriages.

Bleeding in pregnancy due to a miscarriage
Encouraging after her miscarriage

But the following situations can cause for a miscarriage badly:

  • Severe breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy by infections
  • An abnormal number of chromosomes in the fertilized egg
  • Hormone problems and mental health problems
  • Certain illnesses, like severe diabetes
  • Repeated miscarriages(recurrent miscarriage)
  • The woman is over 35 years of her age
  • Immune system responses

Miscarriage is a process, not an event! There are many stages and types of miscarriages. White-pink mucus, heavy bleeding, severe cramps, and discomfort are common symptoms, and if you are bleeding with fever, chills, and pain, contact your doctor right away!

Treatments for miscarriage

First, your healthcare provider will do a pelvic exam, an ultrasound test, and blood work to confirm a miscarriage or if you had more than two miscarriages in a row. And the primary goal of treatments is to prevent hemorrhaging exercise infection.

If you are in early pregnancy, the most likely that your body will let out all the fetal tissues by itself and will not require further medical procedures.

Bleeding should be monitored when you get back home. If you have noticed an increase in breakthrough bleeding or the onset of chills or fever, it is best to call your doctor immediately.

This condition can indeed affect anyone. It may be hard to recover emotionally with unanswered questions. Speaking to a volunteer can help you recover physically and mentally. If you think you need any help with finding an obstetric, you can contact us here always.

3. Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is a condition when a fertilized egg implants itself outside the central cavity of the uterus without attaching to the lining of the uterus. This condition can be potentially life-threatening to the mother so, doctors should do treatments quickly.

In this condition, the fertilized egg can’t survive, and growing tissue can cause severe breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy. In this section, you can see why you are bleeding in early pregnancy because of ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy causes and risk factors

You have more chances that cause you an ectopic pregnancy if you have the following conditions and factors:

  • Previous ectopic pregnancy
  • You are using a copper coil (IUD) or ‘mini-pill’ (progestin-only pill)
  • Your Fallopian tubes are damaged
  • Smoking
  • You have had the pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Age over 40
  • Fertility treatments (vitro fertilization (IVF) or similar procedures)

Signs and symptoms of ectopic pregnancy

Even though you haven’t noticed anything like bleeding in early pregnancy, some women with ectopic pregnancy have usual early symptoms and signs. These following symptoms increase as the fertilized egg grows in an improper place in your body.

  • Bleeding from the vagina (dark and watery)
  • Pain in your tummy (low down and on one side)
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • If heavy bleeding occurs, you may feel shoulder pain
  • Extreme lightheadedness, fainting

These symptoms can mostly be related to an ectopic pregnancy, and you should get advice immediately because this condition is a potentially life-threatening condition.

In the following episode from Dr. Arumala, you get in-depth details about ectopic pregnancy and how that can affect you that we didn’t discuss above.

4. Molar pregnancy (gestational trophoblastic disease)

A molar pregnancy happens when an abnormal growth of the trophoblast develops in the womb instead of a healthy baby. This condition can have serious complications, including rare cancer.

Vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy is a symptom that can cause molar pregnancy, including severe nausea and vomiting, and pelvic pressure.

Once you diagnosed with a molar pregnancy, doctors will recommend removing abnormal cells with a surgical procedure under general anesthetic. You will be bleeding even after the treatment and surgery for up to six weeks and maybe heavy and red at first.

5. Cervical changes

The cervix is where the entrance from the vagina to the uterus. In early pregnancy, there will be two main changes to the cervix. The first change is the position of your cervix, which rises to a higher level in the vagina during ovulation, and the second change is the feel of the uterus, which is very soft.

There will be light breakthrough bleeding or spotting during the time of pregnancy (implantation), which is 1-2 weeks after conception.

Cervical mucus will change when it’s bleeding in early pregnancy, and it will be thick, transparent, and viscous, and it will also turn into a mucus plug. If the mucus is yellow or green in color and has a bad smell, you may be dealing with an infection. It would help if you then visit your local early pregnancy unit for treatment immediately.

Why am I bleeding in later pregnancy?

There can be different reasons for bleeding in later pregnancy (second and third trimesters); some are relatively harmless, and some are with more serious implications to mom and baby. Effective management of vaginal bleeding in later pregnancy needs recognition of potentially dangerous conditions.

Vaginal bleeding after mid-pregnancy is associated with maternal and fetal risks. Bleeding in later pregnancy is more severe than bleeding in early pregnancy.

Possible significant causes of bleeding in second and third trimesters can include:

  1. Placenta previa
  2. Placenta abruption
  3. Preterm labor

1. Placenta previa

The placenta is where that provides oxygen and nutrition to your baby and removing wastes from the baby! The placenta is a structure that developed inside your uterus during pregnancy period.

Placenta previa (low-lying placenta) is a condition when the placenta partially or covers the cervix during the last months and can cause bleeding in later pregnancy and delivery. In severe cases, doctors will recommend a cesarean delivery.

Your health care provider will surely recommend not to engage with activities that can cause contractions, including having sex, douching, using tampons, that have higher significant chances to increase your risk of breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy.

Risk factors of placenta previa

1 out of 200 pregnancies can get this condition, and you are more likely to get it if you:

  • Being pregnant with twins and multiple
  • Had placenta previa with a previous pregnancy
  • Age 35 or older
  • Smoke cigarettes or use cocaine
  • Had surgery on the uterus
  • Have a large placenta

Based on the amount of bleeding in later pregnancy due to this condition, doctors will decide how to treat you, which is the doctor’s primary consideration.

Listen to the full detailed explanation from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) about placenta previa below!

2. Placenta abruption

Placental abruption (abruption placenta) is an uncommon but severe condition that the placenta detaches too early from the inner wall of the uterus. This condition will block the baby’s oxygen and nutrition supply that can cause heavy bleeding in later pregnancy.

Virginal bleeding is the main symptom of placental abruption, even though 20 percent of women don’t experience it. And other symptoms, abdominal pain, back pain, discomfort, tenderness, and Uterine contractions are among them.

Risk factors of placental abruption

Following factors can increase the possibilities of having placental abruption:

  • High blood pressure
  • You smoke or use cocaine
  • Being pregnant with twins and multiple
  • Water breaks before 37 weeks
  • Age 35 or older
  • Infection of the uterus during pregnancy (chorioamnionitis)

As many factors can cause placenta abruption as above, but there is no one specific reason for this condition. However, if you are at risk, you can work to reduce your risk. If you are at your later pregnancy (third trimester) and experiencing bleeding, call your doctor because that may be because of placenta abruption.

More info on placental abruption from the video below.

3. Preterm labor

Preterm labor (premature labor) is when your baby is getting ready for birth earlier than it should be. This condition can occur three weeks from your due date. Naturally, it’s early birth also know as premature birth.

The good news is that doctors can do many things to delay preterm labor. The longer your baby gets to grow inside you, the less likely the baby will have problems after birth.

Vaginal bleeding in later pregnancy is a symptom. Some other symptoms can include mild abdominal cramps, vaginal discharge, and contraction every 10 minutes.

How to treat yourself when bleeding in pregnancy

Breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy can happen at any stage, as discussed above. How heavy the bleeding depends on the person and condition she is on. Bleeding in later pregnancy can be alarming! In some cases, spotting and light bleeding are just a normal part of pregnancy.

Advice on breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy
Doctor is treating a pregnant woman when bleeding in pregnancy

In most of the breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy, you should rest as your treatment. But it is important to be cautious. If you experience any spotting that isn’t for implantation bleeding or doesn’t stop in a few hours on its own, your doctor may recommend for a visit as soon as possible.

Let your obstetrician or doctor know if you experience any symptoms, as mentioned above, for every server condition that you can get during your pregnancy periods. In many cases,  prompt treatment for breakthrough bleeding in pregnancy can prevent complications and save both mother’s and baby’s life. So, your baby can be the closest you will ever come to magic.

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