Bleeding during pregnancy

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Bleeding pregnancy

If you experience bleeding similar to menstruation during pregnancy it may be a sign of a miscarriage, which is relatively common during the first three months of pregnancy. A pregnancy is normally divided into three equally long periods called the first, second and third trimesters. Bleeding during pregnancy is usually categorized as early bleeding that occurs in the first trimester and late bleeding that can occur in the second or third trimester.

Bleeding during pregnancy can have several different causes

It is important to note that not all bleeding during pregnancy is a sign of serious problems but they should always be taken seriously and you should consult a doctor or midwife if you experience any kind of bleeding during pregnancy. Here are some common causes of bleeding during pregnancy:

  • Implantation bleeding: When the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus, this can cause a small amount of bleeding called implantation bleeding. This usually occurs during early pregnancy and can be mistaken for a light period.

  • Miscarriage: Bleeding is a common sign of miscarriage especially during the early stages of pregnancy. Miscarriage can be caused by genetic abnormalities, hormonal imbalances or other factors.

  • Ectopic pregnancy: An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the egg is implanted outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. This can cause bleeding and is a medical emergency as it can be dangerous for the mother.

  • Infections: Certain infections such as urinary tract infections or sexually transmitted diseases can cause bleeding during pregnancy.

  • Molar pregnancy: A molar pregnancy is an unusual type of pregnancy caused by abnormal cells in the placenta. It can cause heavy bleeding.

  • Placenta previa: Placenta previa is when the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix and it can cause bleeding especially during the latter part of pregnancy.

  • Placental abruption: Placental abruption means that the placenta detaches from the uterine wall before delivery, which can cause severe bleeding.

  • Cervical polyp or cervical erosion: Sometimes small growths on the cervix can (cervix) cause bleeding during pregnancy.

  • Trauma: An injury or trauma to the abdomen can cause bleeding during pregnancy.

When should I seek care?

Here are some guidelines for when you should seek care during pregnancy:

Seek care if you are in the first half of your pregnancy and:

  • Experiences bleeding or bloody discharge after intercourse.

  • Has minor bleeding on repeated occasions.

  • Feel worried.

Seek care immediately if you:

  • Are in second half of pregnancy and experiencing vaginal bleeding.

  • Bleeding profusely.

  • Noticing blood clots in the bleeding.

Seek immediate care if you experience both bleeding and:

  • Have pain in the lower abdomen or on one side of the stomach.

  • Has an affected general condition such as feeling sick or extremely tired.

In these situations, it is critical that you contact your doctor or midwife quickly to evaluate and determine the cause of the bleeding and any problems. They can carry out the necessary investigations and advise you on how best to handle the situation.

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