Bleeding During Pregnancy: What's Normal and What's Not?

At North Atlanta Women's Care, our team offers personalized obstetrics and gynecological services -- including high-risk preg

Many women associate bleeding while pregnant with miscarriage. But it’s actually a common issue, especially in the first 20 weeks when 25-40% of women have vaginal bleeding. Even so, bleeding should still be taken seriously to rule out any potential pregnancy complications.

At North Atlanta Women's Care, our team offers personalized obstetrics and gynecological services -- including high-risk pregnancy care -- to women in Johns Creek and Alpharetta, Georgia, and the greater Atlanta area. 

If you have bleeding, several factors can indicate whether it’s cause for concern, including the type and amount of blood you pass and where you are in your pregnancy. To be safe, contact us if you notice any sign of blood so we can evaluate your personal risks of pregnancy complications. 

Types of bleeding during pregnancy

If you’re pregnant and bleeding, it’s important to find out how much blood you’re passing and what it looks like. In most cases, bright red blood is more concerning than any that’s brownish.

To determine the amount of blood you’re passing, you should wear a panty liner or pad -- don’t use tampons in your vagina when you’re pregnant. If you’re “spotting,” you might notice a few drops of blood that don’t fully cover your panty liner or pad. When you have light vaginal bleeding, you have to use feminine hygiene products to avoid staining or soiling your clothes. 

Heavy vaginal bleeding during pregnancy usually describes flow resembling a menstrual period, and you might also notice other tissue on your pad, like blood clots. 

Bleeding during the first half of pregnancy

A full-term pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks and is broken into three trimesters averaging three month each. When you experience light bleeding or spotting in the first half of your pregnancy, it’s usually not a sign of a serious problem. 

It’s common for women to have a small amount of bleeding for a week or two after conception, known as implantation bleeding. You can also have minor bleeding from vaginal infections. 

Hormonal production during pregnancy also causes changes in your cervix, which can make it softer and more prone to bleeding or spotting. These changes increase your chances of vaginal bleeding from routine activities, like internal exams or sexual intercourse. In fact, internal exams and sexual intercourse can trigger bleeding throughout your entire pregnancy because of these cervical changes. 

If you have heavy vaginal bleeding or additional symptoms like abdominal pain or cramping, this can indicate a more serious issue, like ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, miscarriage, or the threat of miscarriage.

Bleeding in the second half of pregnancy

Any bleeding during your pregnancy can indicate a potential issue, but it’s usually most concerning during the second half of your pregnancy.

Certain pregnancy complications, like miscarriages and ectopic or molar pregnancies, are no longer an issue after the first 20 weeks of your pregnancy. However, as your pregnancy advances, bleeding can indicate a more serious problem, such as:

These types of issues often have additional symptoms, such as fever, pelvic pressure, back or abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, or contractions.

No matter how light your vaginal bleeding may be, it’s essential to call us as soon as possible so we can evaluate your personal risks and monitor your condition.

To learn more about vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, call us at North Atlanta Women's Care or schedule an appointment online today.

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