Bleeding During Pregnancy
Although vaginal bleeding occurs in up to 20-25% of pregnancies in the first trimester, in over 50% of these cases the pregnancy can advance successfully and result in the birth of a healthy baby.
However, bleeding during pregnancy may be a warning sign of a more serious condition such as an ectopic pregnancy, impending miscarriage or cervical or placental problems and will need to be investigated further.
Spotting or staining is fairly common in early pregnancy (especially around the time that the fertilised egg implants in the uterus) and is sometimes confused with a period. In later pregnancy, you may experience spotting or light bleeding around the time that your menstrual period is due.
After this, bleeding in pregnancy should always be taken seriously. If you experience vaginal bleeding and you suspect that you’re pregnant, or indeed at anytime during your pregnancy, it’s important that you contact your healthcare professional as it may be an indication of potential problems that may need to be managed promptly to avoid further complications. Bleeding around the 6th to 12th week of pregnancy could be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, for example.
For bleeding in early pregnancy, there is no longer considered any need to rest in bed.
It will not help to keep any blood clots that you pass, or bloodstained clothing, for your healthcare professional to examine, as the investigations are likely to be the same irrespective of the amount of bleeding that you experience. Furthermore, if you’re bleeding and going to the hospital you shouldn’t eat or drink anything unless you have cleared it with your healthcare professional first, just in case you need to have an operation.
Bleeding in early pregnancy is usually investigated by performing an ultrasound scan to check on the viability of the pregnancy; most miscarriages can now be predicted by scan before they actually happen.