Women who are pregnant undergo many changes in their bodies. While bleeding may concern you, it’s normal to experience some spotting during pregnancy. However, you should know what’s considered normal and what is not and when you should see your doctor.
Spotting during pregnancy can be an alarming thing for many women, especially those in their first pregnancy. Most people associate being pregnant with not having your period and not bleeding. In reality, however, pregnancy is a time when around 15 to 25 percent of women experience light bleeding or spotting. It’s important to know when this is normal and when you should worry and see your doctor.
What is Spotting?
Spotting is light bleeding that can happen anytime during your menstrual cycle. It can also occur during pregnancy and is usually light pink or brown in color. During pregnancy, the first time you might notice spotting is before you even know you’re pregnant. This sometimes happens to women after the egg has been fertilized and is implanting itself in the uterus. You may also experience lower back or abdominal cramps.
Additional causes of spotting during pregnancy can be early signs of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. The latter occurs when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. Spotting during pregnancy can also signify that there is an infection or the woman is going into premature labor.
What is the Difference Between Spotting and Bleeding?
Spotting is generally common during pregnancy, but it should always be only light bleeding. The cervix bleeds more during pregnancy due to the development of additional blood vessels. It can happen during sex, a pelvic exam or a pap smear. If you have any concerns, you should bring them up with your doctor.
When is Spotting Normal?
While spotting when you’re pregnant is normal, there are some situations when bleeding at this time may not be normal. When you have spotting before you even find out you’re pregnant, it is because the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus between one and two weeks of conception.
Additionally, there is more blood flow during pregnancy, which means you can experience bleeding during sex, other activities or for no reason at all.
When Should You Worry About Bleeding During Pregnancy?
Light spotting during pregnancy is normal. However, there are certain instances when you might worry and want to discuss the bleeding with your doctor. They include the following:
• Heavy bleeding: If the bleeding you’re experiencing is moderate or heavy and you’re soaking through more than one pad or tampon within three hours, it’s considered moderate bleeding. If it gets heavier, you should immediately contact your doctor, especially if you notice a lot of clots and tissue in the blood.
• Bleeding along with pain, fever or chills: Some cramping during pregnancy is normal due to the expansion of your uterus to accompany your growing baby. However, if you have heavy cramping along with bleeding, especially if you also have fever or chills, you should contact your doctor.
• Bleeding for several hours or days: Spotting once in a while is normal. However, if you’re bleeding more heavily for hours or days, you should be worried. Call your doctor.
When Should You Call Your Doctor?
If you notice any spotting or bleeding during your pregnancy, you should immediately bring it up to your doctor. Although spotting is very normal during this time, your doctor can monitor you. Your doctor may also ask you to describe any other symptoms you might have experienced.
It’s also worth noting that some blood types are more prone to bleeding during pregnancy. In some cases, you may be prescribed medication to keep this under control. Also, any bleeding during your second or third trimester should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible. If you are unable to immediately get in touch with your doctor, you should seek emergency medical attention.
Never hesitate to reach out to your doctor if you are worried about spotting or anything else during the course of your pregnancy.