Vaginal bleeding or spotting during pregnancy

Vaginal bleeding or spotting during pregnancy


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Spotting and bleeding can mean any number of things, from the benign to the truly troublesome. It’s definitely scary when a pregnant woman sees blood but it is not definite that the bleeding is a sign that something is wrong. In fact, one in five pregnant women will experience some spotting during her first trimester. After that, spotting is less likely to occur- even if it does, it is still not necessarily an ominous sign.
Vaginal bleeding can be very scary for a pregnant woman who is thinking positively about her baby. Instead of panicking, it is better to read and understand more about vaginal bleeding. Come to think about it, nearly 20 % of pregnant women across the country see blood coming out from their vaginas. One should know that it is not uncommon or unnatural medical condition during pregnancy.


Also, this spotting or light bleeding is a phenomenon that is mostly seen during the first trimester of pregnancy than in later stages of pregnancy. But there can be no gainsaying the fact that seeing blood in the panty can be very demoralizing and even nerve wrecking for a woman who is so happy and excited about her conception.

How to differentiate spotting from bleeding during pregnancy?

Spotting is very light bleeding, similar to what one may have at the very beginning or end of their period. It can vary in color from pink to red to brown (the color of dried blood). If it is bright red, consider it bleeding. The amount of blood seen is another red flag: Spotting doesn’t soak a sanitary napkin but bleeding may. In fact, spotting is when you see a few drops of blood in your panty occasionally.

There is no need to become alarmed when you experience wetting of your underwear with a few drops of blood. It is only when the quantity of blood is high and it comes out in a trickle that it is considered as vaginal bleeding. This is when you will need to place a sanitary napkin to soak the blood and prevent your panty from getting soiled.


Bleeding during first trimester

You will be surprised to know that every third or fourth pregnant women in the country experiences light or moderate bleeding from her vagina in the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy. In a vast majority of these cases, nothing untoward happens and the women go on to complete their full term of pregnancy. In fact, they go on to give birth to healthy babies. Thus, it is innocuous bleeding in most of the cases of spotting experienced during first trimester of pregnancy. This is what is confirmed by American Pregnancy Association.

Bleeding during last trimester

Bleeding normally takes place during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and the danger of miscarriage is also greatly reduced after pregnancy has continued smoothly past 20 weeks. Many of the reasons leading to spotting or bleeding are no longer relevant during the last trimester of pregnancy. However, vaginal bleeding, when it is not a onetime affair but an ongoing process during the last trimester of pregnancy, can be a serious issue.


One of the main reasons behind vaginal bleeding during the last trimester of pregnancy is cervical checks carried out by doctors and midwives. These checks become very frequent in the last 20 weeks of pregnancy. Another important reason of vaginal bleeding in this period is placental abruption where the placenta violently leaves the uterus walls. Though this condition is rare, it affects 1% of pregnant women in the country and can become life threatening for not just the babies but also the moms.

There is another important reason of vaginal bleeding during the last trimester of pregnancy. It is preterm labor that is often accompanied by pelvic pressure, contractions, and cramping. These conditions that include  severe back pains lead to vaginal bleeding that can have serious repercussions for the health of the unborn baby.