Vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy is common. However, depending on the volume of bleeding, it can be a warning sign of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Bleeding is not often caused by something serious, but it’s very important to make sure and to find out the cause straight away.
In early pregnancy you might get some light bleeding, called ‘spotting’. This occurs when the fetus plants itself in the wall of your womb. This is also known as ‘implantation bleeding’ and often happens around the time that your first period after conception would have been due.
Contact your doctor or midwife if you notice vaginal bleeding at any time during your pregnancy.
What problems can cause vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy?
During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, vaginal bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. However, many women who bleed at this stage of pregnancy go on to have normal and successful pregnancies.
In the later stages of pregnancy, vaginal bleeding can have many different causes. Some of the most common are outlined below.
- Implantation bleeding – this happens when the fertilised egg implants in the uterus lining, causing some cramping pain or light bleeding.
- Bleeding from the cervix – this is more common in pregnancy due to the increased blood flow.
- Ectopic pregnancy – this is when a pregnancy takes place outside of the uterus, such as in the fallopian tube.
- Other causes of early pregnancy bleeding include infections, hemorrhoids, cervical cancer.
How to determine the severity of your vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
- Severe bleeding means you are soaking through your usual pads or tampons each hour for 2 or more hours. For most women, soaking through their usual pads or tampons every hour for 2 or more hours is not normal and is considered severe. If you are pregnant: You may have a gush of blood or pass a clot, but if the bleeding stops, it is not considered severe.
- Moderate bleeding means that you are soaking more than 1 pad or tampon in 3 hours.
- Mild bleeding means that you are soaking less than 1 pad or tampon in more than 3 hours.
- Minimal bleeding means “spotting” or a few drops of blood.
How will my doctor diagnose the cause of my bleeding?
Your doctor will probably want to know how much and how long you have been bleeding. He or she will also ask you if you have any cramps or pain. You may need a pelvic exam, an ultrasound, blood tests or urine tests. Sometimes an ultrasound is enough to make sure your pregnancy is healthy. However, if you are very early in your pregnancy, you may need more tests to help your doctor find the cause of the bleeding.
Remedies to stop vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
It is important to know strategies to handle and control vaginal bleeding during pregnancy if it occurs.
First and foremost, get enough bed rest.
Bed rest is the most preferred treatment for early pregnancy bleeding. Physicians usually advocate complete bed rest for the first few days following the episode of bleeding. If the bleeding does not stop or diminish with rest, it is important to see your doctor assessment.
Additionally, avoid strenuous activity
It is advisable to avoid strenuous or stressful activities such as weightlifting, climbing stairs frequently, running, cycling, etc. These activities cause jerking of the uterus and can rupture the delicate, newly-formed blood vessels in the placenta. Avoidance of these kind of activities is absolutely necessary, even if you only notice a tiny amount of bleeding.
Moreover, avoid sexual intercourse for at least a month
Sometimes, sexual intercourse can either induce or aggravate pregnancy bleeding. Avoid intercourse for at least two to four weeks after bleeding has stopped or until your doctor tells you it’s safe.
Furthermore, avoid douching and use of tampons
Do not insert anything into the vag8na following pregnancy bleeding. Absolutely avoid using tampons or douching, as these may injure the cervix or vag8nal wall causing further bleeding. Douching may also introduce bacteria and other microorganisms into the vag8na, leading to serious infection.
To add to, drink enough water
It’s extremely important that to drink adequate amounts of fluid during a pregnancy bleeding. This is especially important if you have experienced severe bleeding. Drink about six to eight cups of water daily to stay hydrated. Also, bleeding correlates to fluid loss, so you will need to drink more than your normal to make up for the lost fluid.
Finally, seek medical treatment
Any bleeding during pregnancy should be discussed with your physician immediately.
What can I do to prevent a miscarriage?
Keeping your body healthy is the best way to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. Do not smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or take illegal drugs. Talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid before you get pregnant to lower the risk of brain and spinal cord problems in your baby. If you have medical problems, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, talk with your doctor about the care you will need during your pregnancy before you get pregnant.