Heavy Bleeding During Pregnancy

Vaginal bleeding is neither too common nor too rare during pregnancy as around 1 in 10 pregnant women experience heavy bleeding while pregnant at one stage or another of their pregnancies. It’s important to contact your midwife or GP right away after you notice the bleeding though. While it may not be serious, it’s best to be sure that there is nothing wrong.

I Have Heavy Bleeding During Pregnancy, What to Do?

Bleeding in a pregnancy can take place at any stage of the pregnancy. It may happen at the time of conception of the baby or at the deep end of the pregnancy when you are nearing full-term. Spotting is a common sight during the pregnancy’s first trimester BUT heavy bleeding is not that common in pregnancies.

Possible Causes

The starting twelve weeks of the pregnancy are very important as the chances of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy are high during this time period. Heaving bleeding during this stage of pregnancy may be a sign of miscarriage. However, this is not the case with everyone with many women experiencing vaginal bleeding within their first trimester and still going on to deliver a healthy baby.

However, if the bleeding is accompanied with cramps or with a sharp pain in the abdomen, it can be indicative of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.

What to Do

Whenever you notice the bleeding, it’s necessary that you visit your GP right away. Don’t hesitate in answering any personal question either. Try to recall every single detail about your activities and about how you were feeling. All the information would prove useful to the doctor in making the correct diagnosis and in taking the best decision about what to do.

A pelvic or vaginal examination would normally be done in order to know the cause behind the bleeding. An ultrasound and blood tests may also be done.

What Others Have Experienced

Please don’t be scared and always have hope, here are what some mothers have gone through:

I am currently in my seventh week of pregnancy and a discharge of blood from my vagina has become a common sight for the last two weeks. There was an ultrasound done during the fifth week and it showed that the sac was normal but there was no baby. I went for a follow-up at the start of the sixth week and the ultrasound showed the baby and I also listened to the heartbeat. However, just a day later, there was a lot of bleeding and I feared the worst. Once I went for the ultrasound, it showed that the baby’s sac was totally fine and the bleeding was because of a clot in the uterus. The heavy bleeding was because the uterus wanted to remove the clot. At the moment, I have been instructed to rest and let my body deal with the clot either by expelling it or by absorbing it. Hopefully, the clot goes away as if it would get any bigger, it might threaten the baby’s sac.

I experienced heavy bleeding during pregnancy right at the start when I was about to go to have my first ultrasound. I had observed brown spots for a week leading up to the bleeding. The bleeding was accompanied with a great amount of pain and I simply couldn’t stand up. I was taken into the ER and they did the ultrasound to know the cause behind the bleeding. The baby’s heartbeat was very strong and there was nothing wrong with him. The bleeding was because of a large clot far away from the baby’s sac. When I came back home, the clot came out and now there is no pain and the baby is fine too.

During the fifteenth week of my pregnancy, I started bleeding regularly. It was light at first but started to get heavier afterwards. I immediately rushed to the ER and there I was told that the bleeding indicated a threatened miscarriage. I was very worried and went to see my gynecologist who said that the baby looked fine and that the bleeding would go away soon. Right on cue, the bleeding stopped from the very next day.

Causes of Bleeding in Late Pregnancy

There can be a number of causes of heavy bleeding during pregnancy. They include:

  • Activities that cause a cervical change like sex can cause bleeding.
  • Any kind of vaginal infection.
  • Bloody show, which is the removal of the mucus plug that is present in the cervix from the beginning of the pregnancy-it is an indication that the cervix is close to being ready for labor. The bleeding in this case may start before the contractions or even during labor.
  • A critical condition called placental abruption where the placenta moves away from the wall of the womb. The bleeding is usually accompanied with stomach pain in this condition.
  • A severe condition called placenta praevia in which the placenta attaches itself close to the cervix. The bleeding in this case is very heavy and can put both the baby and the mother at risk. A caesarean usually becomes necessary if this happens.
  • An uncommon condition called the vasa praevia in which the blood vessels of the baby are not secured by the placenta and the umbilical cord and actually go over the cervix’s membranes. In this condition, when the water breaks, the vessels become damaged and blood comes out through the vagina. This can prove life-threatening to the baby. Diagnosing the condition is usually very tough though; in some cases it gets identified with an ultrasound. 
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