Is bleeding ever normal? As a future mommy, as if you don’t have enough to worry about, sometimes a little spotting can truly throw you over the “I have no clue what’s going on with my body” edge. But don’t panic! Let’s just dive right in!
Spotting or bleeding during pregnancy is something that many women experience on all different levels. Literally, this means that you may experience some sort of bleeding during pregnancy that appears to be like your regular menstrual cycle. But, wait! Doesn’t being pregnant mean you get the luxury of skipping your “monthly visitor?” Well, not entirely.
Approximately 30% of women experience spotting during their first trimester, so if you are experiencing this, it’s not time to freak out just yet. On the other hand, it can still be scary – even more so if you have no idea what’s going on. Right now, you may be wondering:
- What technically counts as spotting?
- What does it mean for me and my baby?
- How can I help soothe or lessen my symptoms?
Not to worry! These are all perfectly legitimate questions that new mothers everywhere ask themselves every day.
Spotting vs. Bleeding – What’s the Difference?
Before you shift into full-blown panic gear, remember, there is a big difference between spotting and bleeding. However, mistakenly dismissing severe bleeding as spotting can be dangerous for you and your baby. So, it’s important to understand the differences, and seek the professional guidance of your physician if you’re unsure.
Spotting, or light bleeding, is fairly common – especially during your first trimester, though it can happen throughout your entire pregnancy. Under normal circumstances, spotting usually isn’t a big deal. This kind of light bleeding is classified as a few drops of blood that wouldn’t even be able to cover a panty liner. If the color of the blood is brown or pink, you’re definitely experiencing some form of light spotting.
Bleeding, however, is a much heavier flow of blood, usually bright red in color. This level of bleeding would be similar to the typical amount you would experience during your regular menstrual cycle. However, since you’re menstrual cycle stops when you become pregnant, this kind of bleeding is much more serious.
Whether you are spotting, bleeding, or not really sure which category you presently fall into, get in touch with your doctor, and set up an appointment right away. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to the health of your sweet baby!
Changes Galore – Why is My Body Doing This?
One of the many beauties (and pains) of pregnancy is all the changes that come with it. One of the reasons spotting has become so common during a normal, healthy pregnancy is because experts have come up with a plethora of factors that can cause spotting or bleeding to occur.
So buckle up! Because we are about to run a lot of information and possibilities by you. Some of these causes are more common than others, so your best plan of action is to meet with your obstetrician to determine the source of your personal spotting.
The most common causes of spotting during pregnancy are:
- Implantation / Mistaken as a Period – Implantation bleeding goes on when your fertilized egg imbeds into the lining of your uterus. At that point, you probably won’t even be aware of the fact that you have a bundle of joy starting to grow inside of you! This usually happens soon after conception – six to twelve days is the normal window of time for this kind of bleeding and just about the time that you expect your period. After that, it’s best to consult a professional. Most women believe it’s just another period and have no idea they should keep an eye on it.
- Cervical Polyp – A cervical polyp is a perfectly harmless growth on the cervix. The main cause of this kind of growth is the dreaded surge and imbalance of hormones. We’ve all been there, and we know that hormones and their effects on us are very, very real!
- High Estrogen Levels – When you’re pregnant, your estrogen levels will be at an all-time high. Besides their tendency to make the mommy-to-be a smidge irritable, these hormones can also trigger spotting.
- Cervical Sensitivity – Pregnancy hormones can also cause your cervix to become extremely sensitive, due to the increased blood supply in the tissues surrounding the cervix. This sensitivity means that any irritation to the cervix, such as sex or an internal exam at your OBGYN, can cause spotting or bleeding while you are pregnant.
This is All So New – What Actions Should I Take for Spotting?
Now that you know the “what” and “why” of spotting, you’re already ahead of the game! So, now, let’s just look at a few simple ways to deal with spotting or bleeding during your pregnancy.
While bleeding is not experienced by the majority of pregnant women, most women go on to have healthy and successful pregnancies. That being said, spotting is definitely not a normal occurrence, and it should be treated with the utmost caution and care.
Contact your doctor – especially if the flow and coloring matches that of your normal menstrual cycle. A trip to the doctor’s office is a very small price to pay when it comes to the health of your new, little nugget!
As with most disruptive symptoms that occur during pregnancy, spotting or bleeding can become extremely dangerous in the second or third trimesters. If heavy bleeding is persistent, it can be a serious signal that something is wrong, such as miscarriage or pre-term labor. Always keep a watchful eye on any bleeding or spotting, and keep in touch with your doctor.
Now, for the best part! There are always ways to help ease these symptoms and make yourself more comfortable during your pregnancy. Some of these may include:
- Bed Rest – Your doctor may order you to be on bed rest if he feels like your case is delicate enough. This can be the perfect opportunity for the hubby to bring you ice cream and wait on you (because you deserve it)!
- Off Your Feet – Try to stay off your feet as much as possible, and elevate whenever possible!
- Limit Physical Activity – Keep your physical activity at a low, comfortable level.
- No Heavy Lifting – Let your husband carry the heavy grocery sacks (and shopping bags at the shopping centre) – you now have the perfect excuse!
With All That Said…
Though it’s sometimes hard to admit that “mama’s usually right,” listen to her, and call you doctor immediately if you’re experiencing any these spotting symptoms. At the end of the day, the vast majority of women who have experienced spotting or bleeding during their pregnancy have gone on to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies – which is great news for all the new mommies out there…just like YOU!
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“Spotting During Pregnancy.” American Pregnancy Association. N.p., 12 July 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2015. <http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-concerns/spotting-during-pregnancy/>.
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“Vaginal Spotting or Bleeding in Pregnancy.” BabyCentre. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2015. <http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a3081/vaginal-spotting-or-bleeding-in-pregnancy>.
All of the content and articles on our blog and website are intended for informational purposes only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.