Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy has several causes, while some are serious, others are not. This bleeding may occur in the first, second or third trimester.
Causes of vaginal bleeding in the first trimester include;
Implantation bleeding; this usually occur within the first 6 to 12 days of pregnancy. After the egg (from the woman) is fertilised by the sperm (from the man), the fertilised egg moves to attach itself to the wall of the uterus. This bleeding is usually light and it lasts for few days. At this time, a woman may not know she is pregnant and may confuse such bleeding as menstrual flow.
Miscarriage; refers to the spontaneous loss of pregnancy during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Other symptoms of miscarriage are, strong cramps in the lower abdomen and tissue coming out of the vagina. Most miscarriages cannot be prevented. They are often the body’s way of dealing with an unhealthy pregnancy that was not developing. A miscarriage does not mean that you cannot have a future healthy pregnancy or that you yourself are not healthy.
Ectopic pregnancy; occurs when the fertilised egg implants outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. It may implant in the ovary or abdomen. If the embryo keeps growing, it can cause the fallopian tube to burst, which can be life-threatening to the mother. Although ectopic pregnancy is potentially dangerous, it only occurs in about 2% of pregnancies. Other symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are strong cramps or pain in the lower abdomen, and lightheadedness.
Molar pregnancy; is a rare condition in which an abnormal mass, instead of a baby, forms inside the uterus after fertilization. Other symptoms include; rapid enlargement of the uterus, excessive nausea and vomiting.
Cervical changes; During pregnancy, extra blood flows to the cervix. Sex or a Pap test, which cause contact with the cervix, can trigger bleeding. This type of bleeding isn’t really a cause for concern.
Infection; Any infection of the cervix, vagina, or a sexually transmitted infection (such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or herpes) can cause bleeding in the first trimester.
However, first trimester bleeding does not necessarily mean that you’ve lost the baby or you’re going to miscarry. In fact, if a heartbeat is seen on ultrasound, over 90% of women who experience first trimester vaginal bleeding will not miscarry.
FOOTNOTE; It is important to contact your health care provider when you have the following:
-Bleeding with pain or cramping
-Dizziness and bleeding
-Pain in your belly or pelvis
If you cannot reach your provider, go to the emergency room. If your bleeding has stopped, you still need to call your provider. Your provider will need to find out what caused your bleeding.
First trimester: first 3 months of pregnancy.
Implantation: attachment of the zygote (fertilised ovum) to the lining of the uterus.
Uterus: is also known as the womb. It is the reproductive sex organ of a woman responsible for carrying a growing baby.
Cervix: is the lower, narrow end of the uterus at the top of the vagina.
Pap test: also known as papaniculoau test or pap smear. It is a test done to detect changes in the cervix, usually for screening of cervical cancer.
Ultrasound: is a type of imaging technique that health care professionals use to look at structures and organs, e.g the womb, inside the body.