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Early pregnancy bleeding: What’s normal?

Lisa Steinke, with Liz Fenton, is the co-author of the debut chick lit novel l'll Have Who She's Having and the popular Chick Lit blog chicklitisnotdead.com.

When to worry or not

You’ve received your positive pregnancy test results, and you’re more excited than you’ve ever been. But then you experience bleeding, which can be the scariest thing imaginable when you’re carrying a little life inside of you. The good news is some bleeding in a pregnancy can be normal. But in some cases, you and baby could be in distress.

pregnancy testing and early bleeding

So how do you know when the bleeding is normal and when you need to worry? From implantation bleeding to changes in your cervix, we'll sort it out for you.

WHAT BLEEDING IS NORMAL?

If you have some bleeding or spotting in the beginning of your pregnancy, it may not be cause for panic (up to 25% of women experience it). It could be implantation bleeding. Anywhere from six to 12 days after you conceive, the fertilized embryo will attach itself to your uterine wall. This can cause some light spotting lasting from a few hours to a few days.

Early bleeding in your pregnancy can also be caused by the changes in your cervix. When you're pregnant, an increased amount of blood flow goes to your cervix. As a result, having sex or receiving a pelvic exam by your doctor can cause bleeding.

Infections (such as a yeast infection) or sexually-transmitted diseases (such as herpes) can also cause bleeding early in pregnancy.

Be sure to always check with your OB-GYN to make sure you and baby are healthy.

WHAT BLEEDING IS NOT NORMAL?

If the bleeding is accompanied by strong cramps and pain in your abdomen (tissue might also pass through your vagina), you could be at risk for a miscarriage and should contact your doctor immediately.

If you're bleeding and having strong cramps in your abdomen (you may also feel light headed), you could be having an ectopic pregnancy (when the embryo implants outside of the uterus), and should contact your doctor immediately.

Bleeding could also mean that you're having a molar pregnancy. This is very rare and happens when a benign tumor or an abnormal mass of tissue forms instead of a baby.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU EXPERIENCE BLEEDING?

No matter what type of bleeding you're experiencing, you should contact your doctor immediately.

 

With so many changes going on inside your body during pregnancy, it can definitely be an emotional and anxious time. You should never feel embarrassed or hesitant to call your OB-GYN about anything that concerns you. That's what they are there for!

More on pregnancy:

First pregnancy milestones

Top 10 essentials for your hospital bag

Common prenatal procedures

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