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It can be very scary to have a vaginal bleeding especially if you are pregnant though it is not always an indication of serious concerns. Yet, it very important to be on guard and take vaginal bleeding seriously.
Bleeding is fairly common during the first trimester of pregnancy and during the last trimester, as you approach the giving birth stage. But, sometimes it can be an indication of a serious condition that needs urgent medical attention and treatment.
It is crucial to understand the most common reasons why one woman bleed during pregnancy, to know what you should be looking for, and when you should be contacting your doctor.
This article will help you gain such knowledges.
Difference between spotting and bleeding
Light bleeding from a vagina is spotting. It has a similarity with the kind of bleeding you have during your monthly period though it is much lighter. The blood color is usually anything from brown to red. It is like having a few drops of blood on the underwear.
Spotting is very light that it would not even cover a panty liner. While bleeding is when the flow of the blood is much heavier and you will have to use a pad instead of a panty liner to prevent the blood from drenching your undies and clothes.
During your first trimester, it is pretty normal to experience vaginal bleeding due to the following reasons:
- Implantation bleeding. It may happen within 6 to 12 days after your possible conception when the embryo attaches itself to the lining of the womb and starts to grow. Every pregnant woman will encounter implantation differently. Some will experience having a light spot for a span of few hours, while others possibly have a light spotting for a number of days. If you are not aware that you are already pregnant, you may regard this kind of bleeding as a light period. Note that this spotting is one of the most common signs of pregnancy and it affects one out of three pregnant women.
- Hormonal changes. The pregnancy hormones makes changes in the cells in the cervix area which makes it more prone in bleeding.
- Sexual intercourse. Having sex can also be the cause of spotting or bleeding but this is absolutely normal and harmless. It is because of the sudden increased in blood supply and softening of your cervix. But you still need to tell your health provider about this kind of bleeding and be sure to be completely honest to tell that you had sex.
- Breakthrough bleeding. It is caused by the hormones that is in charge of the menstrual cycle. It triggers bleeding once you menstrual period is due. This kind of bleeding can happen several times as the particular hormone make adjustments too.
- Internal examinations done by your midwife or obstetrician and
- Pap smear.
What are the more serious causes of bleeding in pregnancy?
- 1st trimester.
- It is the most common concerns during the first trimester. Almost half of pregnant women who bleed within their first trimester period ultimately miscarry. The spotting and bleeding that happens throughout miscarriage is usually accompanied with other symptoms such as abdominal cramping, backache, and stomach pain.
- Implantation bleeding. It happens during the earliest stage of pregnancy within six to twelve days after the fertilized egg attaches itself in the lining of your uterus during your first menstrual period after the conception have been due. This kind of bleeding is lighter than a usual menstrual period and it can be accompanied by other symptoms like cramping.
- Cervical infection. Any kind of infection of the vagina and cervix can result bleeding during your first trimester. The kinds of infections that can cause bleeding are: urinary tract infection, yeast infection, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes.
- Ectopic pregnancy is when the fetus or the embryo attaches outside the uterus. It is very important to let your doctor know once you experience spotting or bleeding because if it is ectopic pregnancy, your life can be at risk too.
- Molar pregnancy. Although this is a very rare condition where strange tissue develops inside the womb instead of a baby. In very seldom cases, this can be cancerous and has the possibility to spread to other parts of your body. It is accompanied by other symptoms such as, vomiting and severe nausea, and quick enlargement of uterus than expected.
- 2nd or 3rd trimester
- Placental abruption
- Cervical cancer
- Incompetent cervix
- Growths on the cervix
- Preterm labor
- Uterine rupture
- Placenta previa
- Vasa previa
No matter what happen, no matter when it happens, any bleeding during your pregnancy should be reported to your doctor. Do not hesitate to contact your doctor it will surely save you from a lot of unpleasant things that may happen if you neglect to report immediately.
When bleeding, what are the things that I should do?
In every situation, panicking never helps. Remember to take it easy once you are bleeding or spotting, until you speak with your doctor and give you directions on what you should do with your bleeding. Here are some of the lists of the things that you can do while you are waiting for further instructions from your health care provider:
- Call your health care provider to report and ask for instruction.
- Relax and get a rest.
- Do not engage in exercising or any activity that requires lifting and exerting too much effort.
- Do not make love with your partner just yet.
- Do not use douching or tampons use pads instead and make sure to count the number of used pads, it will help you and your doctor to gauge how much blood you are losing.
- Check the blood color so you will know how to describe it with your doctor.
- Make sure that you are having enough water to avoid dehydration.
- Be aware of other symptoms you are having other than bleeding.
When should you call your doctor?
Bleeding is not normal at any point of your pregnancy so make sure to repost any vaginal spotting or bleeding to your health care provider. Never delay and be prepared to provide the answers to the questions listed above.
Go to the emergency department once the following situations develop
- Once you started to have a severe bleeding accompanied with cramps and contractions.
- If you have been bleeding for than 24 hours and you do not have a doctor to assist you or if you cannot contact your health care provider.
- If you passed out or feeling very dizzy.
- If you are having a fever over 38 C.
- If you are feeling sever pain in your pelvic area, back, and abdomen.
- If you had an abortion and suddenly develop fever, pelvic and abdominal pain, and severe bleeding.
- If you are taking medicines for ectopic pregnancy and the bleeding is accompanied with pelvic pain and abdominal pain during the first week after having the medicine.
Treatments for spotting and bleeding
If the cause of bleeding is not serious, the doctor is probably going to advise you to:
- Take a break and take a time off from your work.
- Do not douche and do not use tampons. Never do these two during your whole pregnancy period.
The treatment will depend on what causes the bleeding. A medical evaluation will be conducted by your doctor and it will begin with as follows:
- Medical history. The history of your pregnancy will be reviewed by your doctor by asking a lot of questions. When bleeding, your doctor will surely ask you a number of questions which will be the basis of his decision of what you should do next. Below are the lists of the possible questions that you need to answer honestly and as accurate as you can:
- You will be asked if you had a history of preterm labor, placenta previa, placental abruptions, and cesarean deliveries.
- When did your bleeding starts?
- Is the flow steady or does it stops and start again?
- How much blood you have lost already?
- What color is the blood your vagina is releasing?
- Does it have an odor?
- Is it being accompanied with abdominal pain or cramps?
- Are you feeling tired or weak?
- Are you feeling dizzy?
- Have you fainted?
- Did you vomit?
- Did you have diarrhea?
- Do you have fever? Or had fever?
- Did you fall or injured?
- What was your last physical activity?
- When was the last time you had sex?
- What’s the type of your blood?
- Physical examination. The very first thing that your doctor would want to know is how ill or how unwell you are because of the bleeding. Physical examination is done by checking or evaluating your vital signs such us your:
- Pulse and blood pressure
- Your color will also be checked, how much pale or white you are can give them a general idea of how blood you have already lost.
- Abdominal tenderness will also be checked. The quality of pain in the abdominal area is also important for your doctor to know.
- Bleeding from other sites of the body such as rectum or nose.
- Laboratory testing
- Urine pregnancy test. It is to diagnose pregnancy and infections. The urinalysis can confirm a urinary tract infection even if you are not showing any symptoms of it. It is very important to know if you have a urinary tract infection because it can eventually become the cause of miscarriage.
- Blood test. Your blood type needs to be screened if your type is Rh positive or Rh negative. If your blood type is positive and the father is negative, your body will probably produce antibodies that are against your baby’s blood cells. It can be treated by an injection called RhoGAm which will prevent s the forming of antibodies. It is extremely important to be treated the first time you discovered this issue because if not treated the first time it will definitely come back to harm your baby when you get pregnant again in the future.
- Blood count. It is to monitor how much bleeding already happened.
- bhCG level will measure the volume of the living tissue that is developing in your body during pregnancy. This will help determine if you have ectopic pregnancy and intraurine pregnancy.
- It will absolutely help you confirm if the fetus is still healthy inside and if it is growing accordingly inside the womb. It can identify any other kind of complications such as:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Placenta previa
- Placental abruption
- Fetal bleeding
- Genital issues.
- And other complications.