Bleeding during pregnancy: Common causes

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bleeding during pregnancy, pregnant, period
Bleeding in pregnancy is one of the scariest things that can happen to a pregnant woman. But it doesn't necessarily mean that there's a problem.

If you're pregnant and have experienced some bleeding or spotting then there could be lots of possible explanations. Here are some of the most common causes...

Sex or internal exam

During pregnancy there's an increased blood supply to the cervix and you may experience a small amount of spotting after sex or an internal examination. This is very common and it can be pink, red or brown.

Miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy

Blood loss in pregnancy can be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, especially if accompanied by pain or cramps. Any bleeding in early pregnancy is often referred to as a 'threatened miscarriage'. You can contact your midwife, who should be able to arrange an ultrasound scan.

Bed rest used to be advised for women who bleed in early pregnancy, but there's no evidence that this makes any difference to the outcome. In any case, for reassurance contact your midwife.


Spotting can also be caused by conditions unrelated to pregnancy. A vaginal infection (such as thrush or bacterial vaginosis) or a sexually transmitted infection (such as trichomoniasis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, or herpes) can cause inflammation in the cervix. Your midwife can take a swab to check for infection.

Implantation bleed

Symptoms of early pregnancy can be similar to the way you feel when your period's due. You may get a little breakthrough bleeding or 'spotting', called an implantation bleed, 6-10 days after conception, as the fertilised egg embeds itself in the womb lining.

In the first few weeks, some women find they have a light bleed around the time their period would have been due.

Placental problems

In the second or third trimester, bleeding can be a sign of a condition such as placenta praevia (where the placenta covers the cervix, blocking the baby's way out) or placental abruption (in which the placenta separates from the uterus) and should be checked out straightaway.

If you have an ultrasound scan, the position of the placenta will be remarked on. Women with a low-lying placenta will be advised to go to the labour ward if they have any bleeding in their pregnancy, to check that everything is okay.

Normal labour

The mucus plug or 'show' that women usually experience before labour starts is often streaked with blood. If this occurs after 37 weeks, it's most likely just a sign that the cervix is beginning to soften or dilate in preparation for labour.


In many cases, the cause of bleeding in pregnancy is unknown, and women go on to full-term with no complications. It's still best to report any bleeding in pregnancy to your midwife, though, or to contact the labour ward if you need to speak to a midwife urgently.

Continued below...


It's important to know your blood group, as if you're Rhesus positive and have a bleed after the 12th week of pregnancy, you'll be advised to have an injection of Anti-D within 72 hours. This prevents your body from developing antibodies that may cause problems in future pregnancies.

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Today i was 3 days late for my period, started bleeding this morning. For the past week ive had milky clear liquid come from my nipples, boobs are sore and nipples are sore. What could this be?


My period lasted only 2 days the 3Rd day I was spotting I had a very bad headache IM so scared because I had a ectopic pregnancy 2 years ago I don't want it to be another please if anyone have any info about what I am going though email me please


I had my preiod we had sex monday but thursday i got my period again or at leasti think it is light red could i be pregnant


i missed my period as i do every 2nd time im on the pill , and i missed my period and then i started bleeding little bits and it hasnt stoped this is been happening for almost 2 weeks am i pregnant , or what does that mean ? and i am due for my period in 2 weeks


im 25 no kids was in a 6yr relation and tried 5 yrs outta the six 2 get pregnant. ive only bbeen on bc once and that was in hs. ive never had a miscarriage or abortion. my man is 42 and he has no children either. were trying really hard ive changed my diet ive cut back smoken hes healtyh doesnt smoke or drink and in good shape ive always has irregular periods and he thinks im pregnant now. ive had "morening sickness since christmas and when i flew back home the ride really mad me sick. im scared 2 take a test cuz i dnt want it 2 say negative but my new insurance hastn kicked in so i cant go to the doctor...,do u think maybe im pregnant im sick 2 my stomach headaxhes no appetite differnt smells get 2me im awfully tired n he is 2 my breast hurt he 's been eating like a horse just wondering...


I am due on my period in a weeks time., i am trying to get pregnant for 3 months but no luck, but about a week and a bit ago i started bleeding which is spotting so i fort that is just normal but todayyyy i bled again :S. i am getting worryed, my boyfirend said it might just be the egg planting which meen i am pregnant. but i just want to no if any one have any other ideas why? and if it happend to any one befor they got preg? x


i always have irregular periods but generally delayed, sometime light and sometime heavy too. im 29 yrs old and no child till, not used any contraceptics and planning for the baby since last 3months.last time light bleeding (spotting) occured at 22 days of the previous period and that continued 3days.i did visited to my doc,she did ultrasound an said that there is nothing wrong wid me internally but pregnancy test resulted morning (after 21days of last spotting without pain) i found brown spot on my panty again (had swimming yesterday evening and had sex at night).Not seen any other sign of pregnancy but i feel quite difference in my lower abdomen.Im i pregnant?don't want to visit to the doc right now.Help


hi there i had unprotected sex 16 days ago and have done 2 tests both negative but i have been having all the symptoms of pregnancy and am wondering if it is too soon to tell. its all very complicated as i was on the injection and came of it in november and did not get a period and then had un protected sex with my partner and had the morning after pill.... then i had a slight bleed and things seemed ok but on the first day i started my pill which was not the first day i started my period we had sex again and the condom split and i could not have the morning after pill again and that was 16 days ago. ive had every symptom ive had on my first pregnancy but increased, the doc tool me off the pill to see was it side effects of that but it has not gone away and though i took another test it was also neg, but i feel pregnant and need to know if i am as this was not planned at all at all. i started to bleed yesterday so on day 15 and am still bleeding today with dizzyness and headaches, could this be implantation bleeding or what. the doc said ive to wait til tuesday to do another test but i just dont know what to do. on my last pergnancy i did a test a week after i concieved though i didnt know it at the time and it was neg and 4 weeks later i did another and it was positive. help please


hi i came off the pill nearly two years ago when i got married, and my periods have been regular for about 6/7 months now. but this month i was 6 days late and i havent had any period pain(like i always do) and im quite light (usually heavy) could there be a possiblity im pregnant?i did a test when i was late but it was negative, i have a feeling something isnt right, please help!


I've been bleeding every 2 weeks now or sooner.My stomach gets a little sick but its not to the point where I throw up, I've been getting headaches,and having a temp. I'm getting a little worried. Any ideas?

msicarried b4!

Hi im 19years old suffered a miscarriage july this year and i have been trying to get pregnant ever since i have tried everything....but my periods just keep coming does this mean i can not get pregnant. there are times when i feel lyk im pregnant but eventually it comes. right now im really confused i had my period i started bleeding xmas dai veri lite den neva bled for the rest of the day or the day after then started bleeding on the 27th quite light den heavy den very getting aches and pains weeks l8ter feelin sick got no appetite whats wrong with me? help


I'm 16 and I had unprotected sex about a week ago, the guy didn't pull out either. I have had a few symptoms that make me think I'm pregnant, eating a lot, stomach cramps and lower back pain. the thing is my period isn't due until the 28th and I started bleeding yesterday. I don't want to take a test because it's too early but I would really like some ideas of what could be going on. Please could someone help me? I'm so scared. :( x


im not sure if im pregnant but im bleedin heavely and have been over a week now could this be a misscarage it may sound daft but am askin


hi i need sum advice i had da contraception implant out over a month ago now but after i had it out i had unprotected sex a few days after i still avent had a proper period evertime i think ive com on i havent its reall small amounts of pink coloured bood ive done a pregnancy test but its negative im gettin a few cramps like period pains but not often i have a child allready and this what happened before i done 3 test with her n it turned out negative i dont really no what 2 fink i mean i aint been sick or anythink could u get back 2 me please


Ok so I'm not quite sure what to think. I usually have a very heavy period. The first 2 days are light then until about the 5th day its heavy with cramps. Its the third day and its very light and barely any cramps. I have a horrible headache and a temperature. Could I possibly be pregnant or is this all in my head?


My friend thinks she's pregnant because she has bled out almost brown blood about 7 days after she had sex, she had sex 2 days after her period ended and she doesn't no if she is pregnant or not what could this be? and do you think she should be concerned??


hi i am 16years old i came on my period just over 6 weeks now and i still havent come off, i am scared i might have been pregnant and misscarriaged but i am not sure, i really dont no what to do and just recently it has got a million times worse and there is so much


My friend is quiet confused,she last had her periods 30th of dececmber 2007 but her actual day of menstration was supposed to be 24th of december.She waited for her menstration for january but all in vain till today,but she has tested with the home hpt tests 4 times and all of them give positive results.what advise do you give her because she claims she last had i sexual intercals in december.the whole of january she almost didn&#180t have any sexual activity till 27 0f january 2008 almost 2 days to her january menstruation which she claims was 27,28,29 were all safe days for her to concieve. So we kindly need your help because this situation totally confusing.



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