Pregnancy is a complicated cascade of events where you learn your body can do amazing and unexpected things. While some of them can be joyful, others can invoke panic. One of the most worrying symptoms during pregnancy is the dreaded bleeding during the first trimester. Although bleeding can be a sign of a miscarriage during the first trimester, it can have other perfectly natural causes that will not harm your baby.
Nearly 20 percent of women experience some form of bleeding during their first trimester. Normally a spotting, rather than an actual bleed, it is common and can be caused by implantation of the egg in your uterus, cervical changes or pap smears. Due to increased blood flow in the area, sex may also cause spotting.
Plan of Action
If you begin bleeding in the first trimester, first and foremost, give your provider a call. Most likely she will have you come in for a visit. Second, wear a maxi pad so you can have an estimate on the quantity of blood loss, color and type to report. Third, jot dot any other symptoms such as pain, cramping or fever associated with the bleeding. Lastly, try to relax; most likely, you and your baby are not in danger.
Bleeding during the first trimester can also be caused by some unpleasant reasons. It may indicate an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo implants outside the uterus, generally in one of the fallopian tubes. This happens to about 2 percent of pregnancies. A miscarriage will also cause bleeding in the first trimester.
Marjorie Greenfield, MD, a writer for Dr. Spock.com says this: “More than half of the women who have some bleeding in early pregnancy go on to carry the pregnancy forward.” So if you do encounter first trimester bleeding, be hopeful that you have a strong chance your pregnancy will continue.
In some cases, the root cause of the bleeding (miscarriage, molar pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy) cannot be prevented. But treatment needs to be sought right away to avoid maternal health consequences. In other cases, the bleeding or spotting is minimal, is not indicative of a health risk and will resolve on its own. That being said, you must visit a physician for an exam to determine the cause of your bleeding and the most prudent course of action. Your life and your baby’s life can be at risk, so do not delay treatment or ignore bleeding in the first trimester.