A spotting or bleeding from the vagina during pregnancy can somehow raise concerns especially for first time mothers. Spotting or bleeding during pregnancy is not unusual especially to at most 20% of the population of pregnant women.
Pregnancy spotting can be experienced by at least 1 out of 5 women during the first trimester of pregnancy.
However, the sight of blood can be unnerving in most ways. If you want to learn more about pregnancy spotting, we have dissected it below and offer some nice-to-know facts for you.
Keep on reading.
Is It Normal to Experience Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy?
As mentioned, vaginal bleeding or spotting is a normal occurrence during the first trimester in pregnancy, about the first to twelfth week in the journey. Spotting means witnessing minimal blood discharge from your vagina which the color ranges from pink to brown red. Monitor your discharge and track the amount, consistency, and color. While pregnancy spotting can be normal, calling your healthcare provider is still the best choice to inform him or her of your current condition. Doing so, he or she may ask you to come in for a visit to ensure the well-being of you and your baby.
What Is the Difference Between Spotting and Bleeding?
Spotting refers to light bleeding which can be compared to the last day of your typical menstrual cycle. The color may vary from pink to brown red. The amount of blood is very minimal in contrast to that of bleeding where the flow is heavy enough to demand for you to wear a pad. If you suspect that you are already bleeding, go to the nearest hospital and ask for medical support or intervention. Bleeding poses a great threat to the baby and the mother.
What Causes Spotting During Pregnancy?
Spotting during early pregnancy can be due to implantation. The phenomenon called implantation bleeding happens when the fertilized egg has started to burrow itself against the lining of the uterus. Most women mistake this as the beginning of their menstrual flow, especially when they have not taken any tests to confirm pregnancy yet.
Aside from the normal spotting that happens early in pregnancy, the situation can also happen when you have reached the second and third trimester in gestation.
Below are the factors that can affect spotting during the second and third trimester in pregnancy:
Sexual Intercourse – sexual intercourse may also cause you to experience spotting in pregnancy. The reason being is that the cervix typically has swollen veins due to the hormones of pregnancy making it extra sensitive. When pressure or friction is introduced, rupture of some of these veins may happen which can trigger spotting.
Internal Exam – similarly to that of sexual intercourse, an internal exam puts a bit of stress inside your vaginal canal down to the cervix, causing it to rupture that will eventually lead to some minimal bleeding.
Infection – although unrelated to pregnancy, infection can also trigger vaginal spotting. When there is a presence of infection, the cervix can become sensitive which can cause the blood vessels to swell. If these blood vessels come in contact through internal exam, speculum exam, or sexual intercourse, they can trigger rupture of the veins and cause minor spotting.
What Are the Managements or Treatment Options for Women Who Experience Vaginal Spotting?
Should there be vaginal spotting present during the entire duration of pregnancy, and honestly, it can get really unnerving, it is best that you consult with your primary healthcare provider. Keep in mind that spotting during the first trimester is common and can be attributed to implantation. On the other hand, should you experience spotting during the second and third trimester, it is advisable to call your doctor for help.
However, heavy bleeding is another case that should be considered as a medical emergency. If you have noticed signs and symptoms of heavy blood flow, it is best to head straight to the emergency room, so as the healthcare team can immediately give you and your baby proper medical care.
In conclusion, vaginal spotting during pregnancy is deemed normal. Women who experience bleeding during the first trimester have always given birth to healthy babies. It is important to be wary of the different signs and symptoms so as you can have potential baseline data should you feel the need to consult your obstetrician.
Being able to track your progress or the occurrences of spotting at any time period within your pregnancy can help your primary healthcare provider come up with effective management to prevent major complications.
What you can do when you start experiencing vaginal spotting is to take a few deep breaths first, calm yourself, sit down, and assess the discharge. If it is minimal and the color is from pink to red brown, then maybe this is a sign of implantation bleeding. Subsequently, if the flow is heavy enough to wear a pad, it is a sign that you need to call your doctor or head to the nearest hospital for management.
Author: Patricia Magno RN