About one in four women experience vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. The bleeding may or may not be serious. Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy can range from harmless, light spotting to very heavy bleeding.
At Dignity Health, we have a team of experts in obstetrical care that are committed to the health of you and your baby.
Causes of Vaginal Bleeding in Pregnancy
During the first trimester, some of the most common causes of vaginal bleeding are:
- Inflammation or infection of the cervix. There are many blood vessels in the cervix. Irritation, inflammation, or infection of the cervix can cause bleeding.
- Implantation bleeding. You may experience spotting when the embryo implants into the uterine lining.
- Ectopic pregnancy. A pregnancy that implants in a fallopian tube, instead of the uterus, can cause vaginal bleeding.
- Miscarriage. Bleeding that persists or intensifies may be a sign of an impending miscarriage.
Vaginal bleeding during the second or third trimester may be due to:
- Miscarriage. Although miscarriage in the second trimester is rare, it can cause vaginal bleeding.
- Preterm labor. Regular contractions and changes to the cervix before 37 weeks of pregnancy may cause bleeding.
- Placenta previa. Many women experience bleeding when the placenta is located over internal opening of the cervix.
- Placental abruption. Bleeding can be caused by the placenta separating from the wall of the uterus.
- Infection, inflammation, or irritation of the cervix. Some women notice spotting or light bleeding after sex or vaginal exams.
Symptoms of Vaginal Bleeding in Pregnancy
Vaginal bleeding may be off and on or a steady flow. It can be bright red, brown, or pink. You may also have cramping and pain with vaginal bleeding.
Treatment & Prevention of Vaginal Bleeding in Pregnancy
If you’re experiencing vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, it’s important to talk to your doctor. This symptom requires further medical evaluation and should not be ignored. Your treatment will depend on the cause of vaginal bleeding.
Although there are no specific prevention strategies for vaginal bleeding in pregnancy, regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy can help detect potential problems in pregnancy before they occur or become serious. See your doctor to create a plan for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
Dignity Health provides compassionate care for women experiencing vaginal bleeding in pregnancy in Santa Cruz and Redwood City.