What's in this article?
- 1 Difference between Blood Spotting and Bleeding
- 2 Vaginal blood spotting during pregnancy
- 3 What is spotting in early pregnancy?
- 4 4 Explanations for Spotting Between Periods
- 5 Can you still get your period if you are pregnant?
- 6 What else can cause light bleeding?
- 7 Serious Causes of bleeding in pregnancy?
- 8 Should You Tell Your Doctor?
Difference between Blood Spotting and Bleeding
If what you see is brown or pink, similar to what you see at the end of your period, that’s spotting. If it’s bright red, consider it bleeding. The amount of blood you see is another red flag: Spotting doesn’t soak a sanitary napkin; bleeding may.
Vaginal blood spotting during pregnancy
Spotting is light bleeding from your vagina. It’s similar to a period, but much lighter. The colour of the blood can be anything from red to brown.
Rest assured that in the early weeks of pregnancy, a little spotting or bleeding is very common. As many as one in five mums-to-be with a continuing pregnancy have some sort of bleeding in the first trimester.
You’re slightly more likely to have spotting if you conceived with the help of IVF, or similar fertility treatment. If two embryos were put into your uterus (womb), one may stop developing (a vanishing twin). This may trigger some bleeding.
Sometimes, though, spotting can be a sign of something more serious, such as miscarriage. This is why it’s always best to be checked by a doctor.
What is spotting in early pregnancy?
Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is any discharge of blood from the vagina. It can happen any time from conception (when the egg is fertilized) to the end of pregnancy. Light bleeding or spotting during pregnancy is common, especially during the first trimester. Usually this is no cause for alarm.
4 Explanations for Spotting Between Periods
Ovulation: Some women notice light spotting for a day or two after ovulation. This happens regularly for some people. Ovulation is the time in your cycle when you are most fertile. If you are avoiding pregnancy, make sure not to get ovulation spotting confused with menstrual bleeding!
Contraception: Spotting between periods is a common side effect of hormonal birth control, like birth control pills, hormonal IUDS and patches, shots and implants. Spotting may occur when you start the contraceptive or shortly after stopping its use. If you experience “break through bleeding” every month, let your doctor know. That may not be the right birth control option for you.
Pregnancy: Many women experience spotting during pregnancy. It usually happens in the first few months. This can be harmless in a healthy pregnancy. If you are experiencing other symptoms of pregnancy, take a test to confirm you are. If you are pregnant, see a doctor right away. A doctor can help you get on the right track for pregnancy and make sure that your spotting isn’t caused by an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Menopause: As your body prepares to transition out of your child-bearing years, you may experience hormonal imbalances that cause spotting. This is a sign that you are starting the transition to menopause.
Can you still get your period if you are pregnant?
You can‘t have your menstrual period while you‘re pregnant. Some women do have vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Some even report intermittent bleeding that seems like a regular period to them. But vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is not the same thing as menstruation.
What else can cause light bleeding?
There may be other things going on inside your body that have caused some bleeding:
- Irritation to your your cervix. Pregnancy hormones can change the surface of the cervix, making it more likely to bleed, such as after you have sex.
- Fibroids, which are growths in the lining of your uterus. Sometimes, the placenta embeds where there is a fibroid.
- A small, harmless growth on your cervix (cervical polyp).
- A cervical or vaginal infection.
- An inherited disorder, such as Von Willebrand Disease, which makes it more difficult for your blood to clot.
Serious Causes of bleeding in pregnancy?
Unfortunately, bleeding in early pregnancy can be a sign of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. In both cases, you also usually develop tummy or pelvic pain and cramps.
Early miscarriage usually happens when a baby is not developing properly, and the bleeding becomes steadily heavier. Early miscarriage is a heartbreaking event, but it is fairly common. Some women even have a miscarriage before they realise they’re pregnant, and assume they’re having a period.
An ectopic pregnancy happens when the fertilised egg implants outside of your uterus. The bleeding may continue, and be dark and watery in appearance. An ectopic pregnancy can make you seriously ill, so must be removed quickly.
A more unusual cause of bleeding is a molar pregnancy, which affects only about one in 700 pregnancies. It happens when the embryo doesn’t develop properly, but some of the cells that form the placenta continue to grow and multiply. A molar pregnancy must be removed as soon as possible.
It is also possible for a blow to your belly, perhaps after a fall, to trigger bleeding.
Should You Tell Your Doctor?
Yes! While spotting can happen regularly for some women, it can also be a sign of a larger problem. There are many serious conditions associated with spotting. Here are just a few: miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, thyroid issues, cancer, uterine fibroids or polyps, ovarian cysts or cervical or uterine cancer and many more.
Let your doctor know if you are experiencing bleeding or spotting between periods so that he or she can help you explain the cause or catch a more serious condition as early as possible.