Expectant mothers wonder what is normal during pregnancy. Your growing baby and changing hormones cause a variety of symptoms, some that are normal and others that may be worrisome. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that about one-fourth of normal pregnancies may include some spotting, but some types of blood spotting in pregnancy give cause for alarm.
Regular monthly bleeding, known as menstruation, occurs during a woman’s reproductive years. During pregnancy, menstrual bleeding usually ceases entirely; however some women may notice spotting or periods of light bleeding after conception. This type of bleeding differs from regular periods and, in certain instances, may cause concern.
Although spotting early in pregnancy can signal potential problems, it often occurs in healthy pregnancies that progress normally. Known as implantation bleeding, slight spotting can indicate the successful implantation of the fertilized egg into the lining of your uterus. This usually occurs about 10 to 14 days after fertilization and causes a lighter period that occurs slightly early than regular menstruation. This implantation bleeding is often the first symptom of pregnancy.
While normal spotting occurs early in many pregnancies, it can also be a sign of an impending miscarriage or a pregnancy that grows outside your uterus, known as an ectopic pregnancy. If you experience vaginal bleeding and think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. Medical tests, including ultrasound, may help rule out potential problems associated with early pregnancy.
Bleeding Late in Pregnancy
The causes of spotting late in pregnancy vary from those of early pregnancy. An inflamed cervix can cause occasional spotting, especially after intercourse. Late in pregnancy, you may notice a bloody discharge as the cervix begins to prepare for labor. A problem with the placenta can also cause light bleeding that may progress to heavy bleeding. Bleeding late in pregnancy can cause a serious risk to both you and your baby.
Spotting at any time during pregnancy requires an exam to rule out serious disorders. Other symptoms that require a visit to your doctor include sharp abdominal pain, cramping, dizziness and fainting. Talk to your doctor immediately about any unusual symptoms you experience or concerns you have about the health of your pregnancy and the development of your baby.