Here's What You Need To Know About Bleeding During Pregnancy

by Emily Westbrooks

When you hear the words "bleeding during pregnancy," no one thinks good things. In fact, most people would think bleeding during pregnancy means something potentially dangerous. But bleeding when you're gestating doesn't always mean bad news. So what does bleeding mean during pregnancy? Many women experience bleeding during their pregnancy and go on to have perfectly healthy pregnancies and babies. So, in other words, it depends on when you're experiencing the bleeding and how much bleeding is involved. No matter what, you'll want to contact and probably go see your doctor for an expert opinion.

According to Parents, 25-40 percent of women will experience some level of bleeding during their pregnancy. Not all of those cases will end in miscarriage, or even bed rest, for the pregnant woman and their growing babies. Parents goes on to break down pregnancy bleeding into two different halves over the 40 weeks (more or less) of a woman's pregnancy: the first 20 weeks and the second 20 weeks. Bleeding indicates different things during those two halves of a pregnancy, so it's important every mother-to-be knows the potential complications of both.

During the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, there are more than a few "regular" and/or "normal" reasons why a pregnant woman might bleed. According to What To Expect, things like implantation, which happens at four weeks gestation and as the fertilized egg attaches to the wall of your uterus, can cause minor bleeding. Bleeding can also be caused by hormonal changes, sexual intercourse, an infection or an exam done by your midwife or doctor, too, according to Family Doctor. The American Pregnancy Association (APA) says "potting occurs in about 20 percent of women within 12 weeks of their pregnancies, so if you find yourself bleeding in the early part of your pregnancy, you're not alone. Most of those reasons are innocuous and don't signal any other problems with the pregnancy, but you'll want to inform your doctor or midwife to ensure that's the case.

What To Expect does highlight some more complicated, potentially serious reasons why a woman would be bleeding in the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy. For example, ectopic pregnancy, chemical pregnancy, miscarriage, or a subchorionic hemorrhage can all cause prenatal bleeding. The latter of those doesn't necessarily indicate that the pregnancy can't and/or won't continue. According to Healthline, subchorionic hemorrhaging occurs when, "the placenta detaches from the original site of implantation." Again, this particular bleeding usually isn't harmful in the long term, and according to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, only 7 percent of subchorionic hemorrhages result in a miscarriage. The other aforementioned causes, however, are obviously not conducive to a successful pregnancy and will need to be addressed by a doctor.

In the second 20 weeks of pregnancy, there are still a few causes of bleeding that can be completely benign, such as intercourse or cervical checks. But later in your pregnancy, bleeding can indicate placenta previa, placental abruption, or preterm labor, according to What To Expect.

The APA suggests that if you are bleeding while you are pregnant, you should wear a panty liner or a pad so you can monitor how much bleeding is involved over a particular period of time. And no matter how far along you are in your pregnancy, or how many pads you're soaking, if you experience bleeding you'll want to contact your doctor or midwife in order to check that the bleeding doesn't indicate anything more serious.

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