Women can experience bleeding during pregnancy. According to the March of Dimes, about 20 to 30 percent of women experience this symptom early in their pregnancies. Some women have vaginal bleeding during the latter months of pregnancy. Often a cause for concern, bleeding can signal a problem with the mother or baby. Bleeding can also be a normal occurrence during a healthy pregnancy. Some pregnant women notice light bleeding after a regular pelvic examination of the cervix.
Your doctor may examine your cervix numerous times during your pregnancy. A complete examination during your early pregnancy may include a Pap smear. Your doctor might want to examine your cervix during your late pregnancy to check for cervical thinning and dilation.
Pregnancy can soften your cervix and cause more blood to flow to this area of your uterus. The Mayo Clinic advises that these pregnancy changes might cause harmless vaginal bleeding following a pelvic exam or sexual activity. Changes that occur in the neck of the uterus during late pregnancy, known as cervical ectropion, can commonly cause bleeding.
Other occurrences during pregnancy can also cause vaginal bleeding. Even though you may first notice this symptom after a pelvic exam, it may be unrelated to the examination. Other causes include placental abruption and placental previa, both serious conditions of the placenta. Miscarriage, early labor and uterine rupture may also cause you to experience vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. You may also experience when the mucous plug dislodges from your cervix. This normal occurrence happens late in the pregnancy and may appear as a thick discharge tinged with blood.
When to Worry
Although you may experience spotting or light bleeding after a pelvic examination, heavy bleeding anytime during your pregnancy can signal a problem. Bleeding accompanied by strong cramps, severe abdominal pain and fever, require quick attention. Heavy bleeding or light bleeding that continues for more than 24 hours may indicate a problem with your pregnancy.
When to See Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if your spotting or light bleeding lasts longer than one day or seems to increase in volume. Notify your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain anytime during your pregnancy.