Most women celebrate the news of a positive pregnancy test for many reasons, one of which is a much-needed break from monthly menstrual periods. During a menstrual period, the womb sheds off the extra lining it has built up in case of pregnancy.
Although a woman may experience uterine bleeding during pregnancy, it is not due to a period. It is not possible to have a true menstrual period during pregnancy due to the hormonal changes which prevent you from menstruating.
In addition, it is also impossible for your womb to shed its entire lining while maintaining a pregnancy. However, it is possible to have menstrual-like bleeding for a variety of reasons during pregnancy.
Some of these reasons include;
- Implantation or Decidual Bleeding
Women who complain about having periods during pregnancy are simply experiencing Decidual Bleeding, in which a small part of the uterine lining might shed for the first few months of pregnancy.
Period like bleeding in early pregnancy can also be caused by a phenomenon called implantation bleeding, which is spotting that can occur in the first month of pregnancy. It usually occurs around the time of the first ‘missed’ menstrual period.
- Changes in the cervix
The hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause alterations in the cervix, making it softer and more prone to bleeding. In addition, a harmless overgrowth of tissue may form in the cervix.
In both cases, spotting or light bleeding may be occur after sexual intercourse or a pelvic examination.
- Vaginal Infection
A vaginal infection may cause spontaneous vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. The bleeding may be accompanied by an abnormal vaginal discharge
- Sexual intercourse
Most women continue to have sexual relations while pregnant, unless a doctor advises otherwise.
In some cases, certain women may experience light spotting or bleeding due to increased sensitivity of the vaginal and cervical tissues.
- Molar pregnancy
Molar pregnancy is an abnormality of fertilization which causes an abnormal tissue to grow within the uterus.
This is not a typical pregnancy, but the growth within the uterus leads to the typical symptoms of early pregnancy.
A molar pregnancy cannot result in a normal fetus or delivery, however, vaginal spotting or bleeding can be a symptom of molar pregnancy.
Other Causes Are;
- Ectopic pregnancy
Mild vaginal bleeding and increasing tummy pain may indicate the presence of an ectopic pregnancy. This condition arises when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.
Sometimes, an ectopic pregnancy may be located in the uterine tube. As the pregnancy grows and the tube stretches, the tummy pain becomes increasingly severe. Sometimes these pregnancies rupture the uterine tube, leading to significant blood loss. Sometimes the amount of visible blood lost bellies the actual amount you are loosing in your tummy.
- Subchorionic hemorrhage
In this condition, blood accumulates between the wall of the womb and the sac of fluid encasing your baby. Normally, the body frequently reabsorbs these blood clots, however, dark blood or small clots may be discharged from the vagina.
- Cervical examination
A doctor may inspect your cervix to check for any abnormalities. This procedure can result in some minor bleeding during pregnancy.
- Uterine rupture
This is a medical emergency that occurs when the womb tears during labour. This condition is likely to occur in women who have previously had a cesarean delivery or surgery on the womb.
- Placental abruption
In this instance, the placenta starts to separate from the uterus (womb) before the baby is delivered. It is also a serious medical emergency and the baby’s life is at risk.
What’s The Next Step?
If you experience any form of bleeding during pregnancy, it is advisable to note the colour (is it bright red or brown ?), amount (how many pads did it soak up?) and consistency ( were there clups or bits of tissue in it?). This info is important when you speak with the doctor during antenatal clinics. It will give the doctor a clue as to the source and severity of the bleeding.
Bleeding during pregnancy does not mean that you are experiencing a menstrual period. In addition, heavy bleeding may indicate a health issue that requires medical attention. Whenever bleeding during pregnancy is observed, it should always be reported to a doctor in order to rule out miscarriage and other complications. Learn about bleeding after delivery.
- Nall, R. (2018). Can you have a period while pregnant? Accessed on June 12, 2020 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322598
- Danielsson, R. (2020). Potential Causes of Bleeding During Pregnancy. Accessed on June 12, 2020 from https://www.verywellfamily.com/is-it-possible-to-have-a-period-during-pregnancy-2371251
- Blocker, W. (2019). Bleeding During Pregnancy (First, Second, and Third Trimester). Accessed on June 12, 2020 from https://www.medicinenet.com/pregnancy_bleeding_during_the_first_trimester/article.htm#what_should_you_know_about_bleeding_during_pregnancy