Bleeding During Pregnancy
Bleeding during pregnancy is worrisome -- no matter how many weeks along you are. It's scary to see blood when you're pregnant, either when you wipe or in your underwear when you go to the bathroom. Bleeding can mean different things, but it doesn't always mean something is wrong.
Sometimes bleeding during pregnancy is harmless. At other times it can indicate problems or complications. If you do notice bleeding always call your care provider, even if you suspect it's harmless.
My midwife always used to ask me if I'd had any bleeding then say "I know you'd have called me if you had..." It was almost a joke by the end of my third pregnancy, but it underscores the importance of knowing what is going on with your body and your baby - especially if you notice bleeding.
Bleeding During Pregnancy Can be Normal
Bleeding during pregnancy is often nothing to be alarmed about. Early in the first trimester many women have light bleeding just about the time they get their periods. The hormones of pregnancy take some time to get established and this is a normal response to those adjustments.
You might notice light spotting when your newly conceived baby implants into your uterus. This may be dark brown, old-looking blood, or it could have a pink tinge to it.
If you have bright red bleeding call your care provider immediately. It could be nothing - of the women who experience bleeding during pregnancy most go on to have healthy babies.
There are Times to Worry
However, bleeding during pregnancy can be a sign of impending miscarriage. Your care provider may want to you to come in to check the baby's heartbeat or to have an ultrasound check.
You may be advised to put your feet up and avoid physical activity (bedrest). Studies have shown that this is not particularly helpful in preventing miscarriage, but it makes many moms feel better.
Click here for a tea recipe that could stop miscarriage
Bright red bleeding could also indicate complications such as a low-lying placenta (placenta previa). This is a situation where the placenta is lying across the cervix. This complication often corrects itself by the end of pregnancy.
If placenta previa is still present when it is time for the baby to be born a cesarean section is required. Your care provider can identify this by ultrasound.
If you're close to the end of your pregnancy and notice bleeding it could be a sign labor is beginning. Are you seeing mucous tinged with blood, or both blood and mucous? This could be your mucous plug, which seals the cervix during pregnancy. This plug or "bloody show" comes out when it is time for the baby to born (sometimes you don't notice this).
If you're having active contractions and know that labor has started you may notice some blood. If you see bright red bleeding in heavy amounts, you should immediately call your care provider to rule out any complications with the placenta.
Discovering bleeding during pregnancy is nerve-wracking, but most bleeding during pregnancy is harmless. Light spotting will usually stop within a day or two. The very best thing to do is to call your care provider immediately and try to relax. He or she will help you figure out what to do next.
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