Pregnancy Spotting Or Bleeding: Causes And Treatment Options


Pregnancy spotting or bleeding may happen at any stage after conception. The bleeding is usually light. But it can get heavier due to some complications. The spotting is red, dark brown, or pink. Sometimes the bleeding is just a few drops, passing of clots, or insufficient to soil underwear and sanitary pad.

It is possible to deliver a healthy baby even if pregnancy spotting occurs once in a while. But if the bleeding intensifies, then you must see a doctor as soon as possible. There are several causes for blood passing after you conceive. So, without any delay, seek medical help in such a circumstance.

In this post, we will discuss pregnancy spotting and its causes in the first trimester, second trimester, and third trimester, signs of miscarriage, when to contact your healthcare provider, and more.

First Trimester: Spotting and Its Causes

Around 15 to 20 percent of women who conceive may get bleeding in early pregnancy. This is more common in the 6th and 7th pregnancy weeks. This may or may not indicate a miscarriage. Or, it is a sign of other issues as well, such as ectopic pregnancy. So, if you bleed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, then it could be because of:


Miscarriages are more possible in the initial 12 weeks of pregnancy. In case you conceive, and get bright red or brown bleeding, then approach your doctor. Pregnancy spotting can happen with or without cramps. You may face weight loss, sudden decrease in pregnancy symptoms, and pass white-pink mucus.

You will also experience severe to mild backache, cramping, contractions, and pass clot-like material or tissue from the vagina. You possibly cannot save the pregnancy if miscarriage is ongoing. But you must still contact your healthcare provider. He/she will run tests to see if there is any complication or ectopic pregnancy.

The clinician may suggest a few blood tests. These are to check the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This is a pregnancy hormone. If the level of this hormone is more, then the pregnancy may still exist. The tests may happen in an interval of 24 to 48 hours.

If these hormone levels decline, it can indicate a pregnancy loss. Miscarriage is not uncommon, and it can have emotional effects. But having one does not mean you cannot conceive in the future. Even if you have had multiple miscarriages in the past, the chance of conceiving still exists.

Implantation Bleeding

After the embryo attaches to the uterine wall, bleeding may occur. This is implantation bleeding. It is visible 6 to 12 days after conception. Not every female will get pregnancy spotting after implantation. But for others, it is the primary sign of conception. The bleeding is slight, dark or light brown or pink.

It is not anything like a menstrual period. The light spot does not soak underwear or sanitary pad. It will not drip or even trickle. Implantation bleeding can go up to 3 hours. Sometimes it can get over within a few hours. But in either case, the spotting will stop on its own.

Unknown Reasons

An unknown cause may lead to pregnancy spotting in some women. Mostly, light bleeding in early pregnancy is because of bodily and hormonal changes. In some females, the cervical alteration causes mild spotting. It may also start due to physical exercise, stress, or sexual intercourse.

Infection is another factor for bleeding in pregnancy. Do not take unusual discharge or heavy spotting lightly. Talk to your doctor immediately and take medical help. This can at least make room for diagnosis of the reason for the passing of blood.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Pregnancy outside the uterus is a medical emergency. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants outside the womb. You cannot continue this kind of pregnancy. It needs termination due to life-threatening complications. Some of the symptoms are heavy to light vaginal bleeding.

Such type of pregnancy spotting may be accompanied by rectal pressure. Other signs are weakness, fainting, intense pelvic or abdomen pain, or dizziness. Seek emergency care in this case.

When to Seek Help from a Doctor?

If you get spotting or bleeding during any stage of pregnancy, contact your doctor. He/she can run a few tests and evaluate your health. The physician will also enquire about the symptoms such as fever, cramping, or anything else. Do not delay informing your healthcare provider about the bleeding.

A vaginal ultrasound can confirm if the baby is developing properly. It can also determine the amount of bleeding or any other complication. Pregnancy spotting because vaginal bleeding after conceiving can occur due to certain blood types. In this case, you may need to take a few medicines to stop this problem.

If the bleeding starts in the second or third trimester, then do not wait up. Seek emergency care immediately. If you require someone’s help then do not hesitate to sign up for it. If you live alone, then choose prenatal care and tips to deal with medical emergencies.

Pregnancy Spotting in Second Trimester

In the second trimester, light spotting and bleeding are because of cervix irritation. This is more often after a cervical exam or sexual intercourse. This is usually not a problem. In the case of cervical polyp, blood may pass. It is the growth of the cervix. But it is nothing to worry about.

The spotting may happen in and around the cervix. The reason for this is an increase in the number of tissues and blood vessels in the area. If the bleeding is heavy like that of a menstrual period, then meet your doctor as soon as possible. This may indicate emergencies such as late miscarriage, premature labor, or placenta previa.

Pregnancy Spotting in Third Trimester

In late pregnancy, spotting and light bleeding happen after a cervical exam or sexual intercourse. This is again nothing to worry about. If the labor is starting, then the spotting can occur due to a bloody show. Heavy vaginal bleeding requires emergency care. It may begin due to vasa previa, placental abruption, or placenta previa.

Miscarriage Symptoms for Different Pregnancy Stages

Here are more details about pregnancy termination in different trimesters of pregnancy:

In First Trimester

In the first trimester, pregnancy loss occurs usually in the initial 12 weeks of conception. If pregnancy spotting does not stop after a few hours, access healthcare immediately. You may even encounter cramping and pain in the abdomen or lower back. You may even pass tissue or fluid from your vagina.

Other signs are contractions, weight loss, loss of pregnancy signs, and white-pink mucus. The expulsion of fetal tissue may occur on its own in the early weeks of pregnancy. There is usually no need for any medical intervention. But even after a miscarriage, the symptoms persist, get in touch with your doctor.

If you are in the first trimester, then dilation and curettage is the procedure to terminate an incomplete miscarriage. This will prevent infection and restrict bleeding. You may also need some emotional care and help in this period.

In Second and Third Trimester

After 13 weeks, miscarriage symptoms include vaginal bleeding or pregnancy spotting. You may not feel the movement of the fetus. Also, there could be abdomen and back cramping. From the vagina, you may pass tissues and fluids. If the fetus is not growing anymore, then you have to end the pregnancy.

The doctor may give few medicines to expel the placenta and fetus, vaginally. Otherwise, the surgeon will perform a procedure (dilation and evacuation) to remove all the pregnancy portions from the uterus. In the advanced stage of pregnancy, miscarriage can hamper emotionally.

It can also exert physical symptoms. Both may require professional care and support. You may speak with your doctor after your return home. Emotional and physical recovery is important after pregnancy loss. You may have to take some time off your schedules if you have to for complete recuperation.

For psychological help, you can approach a counsellor. If you wish to conceive again in the future, then discuss your options with the doctor. Also, to prohibit a pregnancy, you may have to use birth control. You may either choose a hormonal or non-hormonal contraception method.

Bonus Read: Click here to know about safe pregnancy workout tips.

Final Thoughts

Bleeding during pregnancy can happen due to more than one reason. Sometimes pregnancy spotting is harmless. But it is advisable to check with a doctor about it to rule out complications. In case of a medical problem, you may have to take treatment for the situation. But do not lose hope.

If you seek timely help, then your health, as well as that of the fetus, can remain well. But if it is a miscarriage, then you may look for emotional support. If the pregnancy loss is incomplete, then surgical methods or medicines can expel the remaining portions from the uterus.

Also, for life-threatening circumstances such as ectopic pregnancy, it is best to get the same terminated soon. This is because the growth of an embryo outside the uterus is unsafe for the female. It can cause severe bleeding, pain, and death. So, take the necessary methods to end the issue.


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