Is bleeding during early pregnancy (before 12 weeks) normal?
Before 12 weeks, it is usual to have bleeding during early pregnancy. Although this is not usually a major problem, you should contact your doctor, midwife, or the Early Pregnancy Unit for control.
After 12 weeks of pregnancy, bleeding is rare. For you to be examined, go immediately to the ER or the maternity unit at your hospital.
What can cause bleeding in early pregnancy?
The fertilized egg (growing embryo) implants itself in the uterine wall during implantation. This usually happens around the time your period should be due. After 8 weeks of pregnancy, some women have had implantation bleeding.
An implantation haemorrhage is a type of spot that is usually pink but can sometimes be brown. It can be visible in your underwear or after cleaning after using the bathroom. Soaking sanitary napkins or underwear should not be enough. It usually only lasts a day or two, although it may last a bit longer for some women.
Changes in the cervical
hormones released during pregnancy can trigger changes in the cervix, which can lead to bleeding. Blood flow to the cervix increases and the cervix softens. This can result in some sex-related bleeding (known as postcoital bleeding).
An infection can rarely cause vaginal bleeding.
Miscarriage and bleeding
Bleeding can sometimes indicate a more serious problem. Remember that many women who experience bleeding early in pregnancy (before 12 weeks) continue to have a healthy pregnancy. Just make sure your symptoms are checked.
The loss of a pregnancy before the 24th week is called a miscarriage.
Signs and symptoms include:
- bleeding, especially bleeding that is bright red and needs a back pad,
- or stomach pain or cramps.
Some women may experience a “threatened miscarriage.” When a woman is pregnant and has been bleeding for a long time, with or without pain, she is diagnosed.
When a fetus does not grow normally in the uterus, it is called a molar pregnancy. Signs and symptoms include:
- an unusually bloated belly
- severe morning sickness
When a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. Signs and symptoms include:
- pain at the tip of the shoulder
- When you urinate or have a bowel movement, you may experience pain.
- belly pain on one side
What are the causes of late pregnancy bleeding (beyond 24 weeks)?
In some women, small bleeding may occur later in pregnancy. This could come from outside the uterus, such as the cervix, which can cause bleeding after intercourse. Although this can be resolved and does not necessarily indicate a problem, you should contact the hospital birthing centre once to have it reviewed.
In late pregnancy, there are two major causes of bleeding:
Lower placenta (placenta previa)
The area where the placenta attaches to the cervix normally extends upward. When your placenta is in the lower part of your uterus, near or covering your cervix, it is called a low placenta. This can obstruct the baby’s exit. This would have been discovered on one of your routine ultrasounds, and you will have an additional scan later in your pregnancy to assess whether the placenta has moved upward.
If your placenta is still low in your uterus, you may experience heavy bleeding during your pregnancy and after your baby is born. This could endanger both you and your child. If your placenta is lowered and bleeding, seek immediate medical attention by dialling 999.
Placental abruption (placental abruption)
The placenta begins to separate from the wall of the uterus, which is a dangerous problem. Extreme stomach pain that doesn’t come and go like contractions is the most common symptom. Even if there is no bleeding, it can happen.
If you bleed late in your pregnancy, call your hospital maternity unit right away.
To learn more about placental abruption, go here.
Your blood type and whether you have rhesus positive or negative blood will be determined during your prenatal care by your midwife. It’s important to understand which group you belong to. If you have negative rhesus blood and your spouse has positive rhesus blood, your baby may also have positive rhesus blood. If this happens, your body may mistake your baby’s blood for its own and produce antibodies against it. Maternal antibodies cross the placenta and attack the baby’s red blood cells.
This usually does not affect your first pregnancy, but it can be quite dangerous in later pregnancies. As a result, if you have rhesus negative blood, your midwife will give you an anti-D injection to protect your baby during pregnancy.
If you experience any bleeding or trauma to the lump (for example, if it falls), immediately call your midwife or the maternity unit at your local hospital. You may need to be tested and may be given another shot of anti-D.
If you have any concerns about your or your baby’s blood type, speak with your midwife.
Where should I seek help if I bleed during pregnancy?
Even if you have no other symptoms, any bleeding during pregnancy should be monitored. It is essential to contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible for care.
Before 12 weeks of pregnancy
If you feel fine and the bleeding is not too heavy, make an appointment with your GP or midwife (if you don’t already have one), who will determine whether or not you need a referral. the local Early Pregnancy Unit. Depending on your history and where you live, you may be able to self-refer to a local Early Pregnancy Unit. If you call your local doctor’s office, they should be able to help you.
If you need urgent medical assistance but it is not an emergency, call NHS 111.
If you are bleeding, go to the local A&E and: it
- is at night or on the weekend when a GP is not available
- the bleeding is profuse
- the pain is severe
- feels unwell overall
After 12 weeks pregnant
Just in case, go to your local A&E or contact the hospital maternity unit right away to get checked out.
Bleeding during pregnancy if you have had a miscarriage in the past
A recent study has revealed that progesterone can help with bleeding in your current pregnancy after one or more previous miscarriages. This study, which was published in 2019, found that the more miscarriages you’ve had in the past, the more benefit you’ll get from progesterone medications.
Progesterone is a hormone that helps the lining of the mother’s uterus and body thicken in preparation for the baby’s growth. It is given twice a day into the vaginal canal as pessaries (tablets) (such as inserting a tampon).
A large, multicenter, randomized controlled trial, which is the gold standard of research trials, demonstrated that progesterone can be a successful treatment.
Visit your doctor
Progesterone medications may be beneficial if you have bleeding early in pregnancy and a history of miscarriage. Because this research is new, your doctor may not be aware of it, so talk to your doctor or the doctors at your local Early Pregnancy Unit about it. Show them this information if necessary, or download and take this brochure with you.