Bleeding in Early Pregnancy
Bleeding in Pregnancy - Bleeding when Pregnant
Bleeding in early pregnancy is very common but should always be investigated by having an ultrasound scan.
Possible reasons for bleeding in pregnancy:
A threatened miscarriage is a term used to describe a pregnancy that is developing and has a heart beat (viable) but where some degree of bleeding has occurred or is occurring.
Sometimes the bleeding occurs due to an imbalance in the hormones that are being produced during the early weeks of pregnancy. In these cases the bleeding normally settles of its own accord at around 12 – 14 weeks.
Bleeding can also occur around the gestation sac after implantation. This is often picked up on scan and you will be told if this is the case.
Once an ultrasound scan has demonstrated that the pregnancy is viable (has a heart beat), even after bleeding, the risk of miscarriage is very low (approximately 3%).
If the bleeding is due to hormonal imbalance there is nothing you can do. Research has proven that rest in these instances does not help.
If you are told that there is an area of bleeding around the gestation sac then there are several things that will help to prevent the area of bleeding from worsening.
Firstly, try and avoid any strenuous exercise. This does not mean you have to go to bed, but be sensible about what you are doing.
Secondly, it is best to avoid heavy lifting. This may be difficult if you have young children at home, but try and get them to climb on to your knee rather than picking them up.
Thirdly, it is advisable to avoid sexual intercourse while you are bleeding.
It is also best to wear sanitary towels not tampons as there is an increased risk of infection if you wear tampons for bleeding in pregnancy.
If the bleeding is due to hormonal imbalance then the bleeding should settle at around 12 – 14 weeks when the placenta is fully functional and able to maintain the pregnancy.
If the bleeding is due to a bleed around the gestation sac then it is difficult to predict when it will settle. Sometimes the bleeding continues until all of the blood collection has disappeared. Sometimes the blood collection gets absorbed without any further bleeding.
If the bleeding worsens to more than a normal period with the passage of clots then you should contact your GP or midwife. This does not necessarily mean that the pregnancy will miscarry but you will need further follow up to ensure that all is well.
Sometimes the bleeding occurs because the pregnancy has not developed as it should and it will end in miscarriage.
If the bleeding is heavy and is accompanied by the passage of clots then it may be that the miscarriage has occurred naturally. A scan will help to confirm this and will rule out any retained pregnancy tissue.
Sometimes the bleeding is only light but the pregnancy has stopped growing and no heart beat can be detected. Again a scan will confirm if this is the case.
Miscarriage is a very distressing event and Cherish-UK is committed to supporting you through this sad time. It may be necessary for you to get your GP to refer you to your local Early Pregnancy Clinic for further management and support. We will inform you if this is the case.
An ectopic pregnancy is one that develops outside of the womb, usually in one of the Fallopian tubes. There are certain things that can raise your risk of having an ectopic pregnancy and these include:
- Conceiving while taking the Progesterone Only Pill (the mini-pill)
- Conceiving with a coil in place
- Previous abdominal surgery e.g. Caesarian section or appendicectomy
- Pregnancies conceived through assisted conception
- Previous fertility problems
- A history of pelvic infection such as Chlamydia
An ectopic pregnancy will cause bleeding and will usually be accompanied by uni-lateral pain, although some don’t cause any pain at all. A scan will help to determine whether a pregnancy is misplaced.
If an ectopic pregnancy is suspected on scan you will be informed of the findings and asked to attend your local hospital for further assessment.