Bleeding during early pregnancy (first trimester) is fairly common. Studies indicate that 20 to 30 percent of women may have vaginal bleeding during this time. Sometimes, however, it might be an indication that there is a problem. It is always best to get yourself checked so that you can be sure all is well, both with you and your unborn baby.
What does bleeding during early pregnancy indicate?
Bleeding in the first trimester is not always a problem. It may be caused by:
- Having sex
- An infection
- The fertilized egg implanting in the uterus
- Hormone changes
- Other factors that will not harm you or your baby
More serious causes of bleeding include:
- A miscarriage
- An ectopic pregnancy, which may cause both bleeding and cramping
- A molar pregnancy, in which the pregnancy does not form properly
Some important information to help the diagnosis:
- How far along is your pregnancy and when did the bleeding begin?
- Is it a steady flow and what is the amount?
- What is the color of the blood? For example, pink, brown, or red; smooth or full of clots
- Does the blood have an odor?
- Do you have cramps or pain?
- Did you feel dizzy or faint?
- Do you have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea?
- Do you have a fever?
- Have you been injured, such as in a fall?
- Have you changed your physical activity?
- Are you stressed or worried about anything?
- When did you last have sex and did you bleed afterward?
- Have you had vaginal bleeding during this or an earlier pregnancy?
Signs that you need immediate help:
- Heavy bleeding
- Bleeding accompanied by pain or cramping
- Dizziness and bleeding
- Pain in your belly or pelvis
- Discharge includes tissue
What is the recommended treatment for bleeding during early pregnancy?
- Take time off work to rest
- Stay off your feet
- Abstain from having sex
- Do not douche (avoid when not pregnant too)
- Do not use tampons
Your doctor or midwife may also give you a shot of medicine to help you keep your pregnancy and avoid a miscarriage. Very heavy bleeding may require a hospital stay or surgical procedure.
You should expect to receive an ultrasound to identify what the underlying cause of your bleeding may be. Vaginal and abdominal ultrasounds are often performed together as part of a full evaluation.
Inform your healthcare provider immediately about any kind of bleeding during early pregnancy. (Wear a pad or panty liner so that you can determine the color and amount of blood.) He/she will then be able to determine the testing you require and provide you with the specialized care you need to achieve positive results.
Dr. Jorge L. Gomez earned his Medical Degree in 1990 at Central Del Caribe University in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Following residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital center in the Bronx, NY (1990–1994), he completed additional fellowship training at New York University Medical Center NY, specializing in Maternal Fetal Medicine (1994-1996). After his fellowship in 1996 he joined South Florida Perinatal Medicine. Dr. Gomez is Board certified in OBGYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine. From 2003–2007 He was a reviewer for the American Journal Of Obstetrics and Gynecology.