We have been brought up to believe that you are not supposed to have your period while you are pregnant. In fact one of the simplest ways to tell that you are pregnant is by noting the number of missed periods that you have during the early stages of the pregnancy. However, it is not uncommon for some women to go through a light spotting that is similar to a period during their pregnancy. If you are one of these women, do not fear as this is more common than you think. Women of all ages and from all walks of life have reportedly had several bouts of bleeding and spotting while pregnant, so before you jump to any conclusions, stay calm and consult a doctor for a proper check up.
How Often Does This Happen?
While some women have reports of spotting and slight bleeding well into their second and third trimesters, many women tend to have this problem at the early stages of their pregnancy. At the end of the day, it depends on the woman and how her body reacts to the pregnancy and hormonal changes.
Why Does It Happen?
1. Early Symptoms Of Pregnancy
Spotting or bleeding may indicate pregnancy. This usually happens during the very early stages of the first trimester when you may not even realize that you are pregnant. Besides bloating, breast tenderness and morning sickness, spotting may be an indication that you are pregnant, so take a pregnancy test or visit your doctor to be sure.
2. Implantation Bleeding
This form of bleeding happens up to two weeks after conception. This is when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. It usually takes place around the same time that you can expect your period. Do not worry because this is completely normal and does not require any form of treatment or medication. However, you should know that implantation bleeding is a lot lighter than regular menstruation so if you experience heavy bleeding, seek the advice of a doctor.
3. Breakthrough Bleeding
This form of bleeding can be attributed to hormonal changes. What happens is that pregnancy hormones cover up your regular menstruation cycle. One out of five women will experience breakthrough bleeding so this is relatively normal. This usually happens within the first trimester of the pregnancy and in some cases may drag on into the second trimester. Like implantation bleeding, this will happen around the same time that your menstruation is supposed to arrive. It will only last a couple of days and can be likened to light spotting. Anything too heavy should be taken seriously and that is when you need to see a doctor.
4. Rectal Bleeding
Some pregnant women mistake rectal bleeding for their period. Do not worry if you find blood on your toilet paper or on your underwear. Rectal bleeding can be caused by hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids happen when the blood vessels in and around the anus become swollen. These swollen veins may bleed when you have a bowel movement or wipe too hard. This is common during pregnancy especially during the third trimester. One way to combat this is to consume foods that will keep constipation away like whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. You should also consume plenty of water and do regular exercise. Many women find yoga to be helpful as it is not too strenuous and encourages physical and mental relaxation. You should also consider switching to a softer toilet paper or use facial tissues instead.
5. Hormonal Changes
A reason why you may menstruate is because of your progesterone level. When you are pregnant, your progesterone level will rise high enough to the point that it will suppress your period. However in some cases, your progesterone may not rise up high enough to completely suppress it, especially during the early stages of your pregnancy. This is when bleeding will occur.
6. Ectopic Pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg gets implanted outside of the uterus, most often within the fallopian tube. Although this is rather uncommon, it happens to one out of 60 women and the symptoms include vaginal bleeding, cramping and pains in the abdominal area. Your doctor will tell you what to do next.
7. Infection or Growth
Infection in the pelvic area or a urinary tract infection may cause you to bleed during your pregnancy. Another reason may be because of an inflamed cervix or growths in the area. The only way to determine if you have these problems is to consult your doctor. He or she will then conduct a series of tests to get a better understanding of what is going on and will aptly advice you on what to do next.
This is by far the worst case scenario. Vaginal bleeding alone does not mean that you are having a miscarriage. Only when the bleeding is coupled with severe cramping in the lower stomach and when you notice tissue being released from the vagina should you be worried. Immediately head to the hospital if you have all the symptoms. This is often the body’s way of telling you that it is an unhealthy pregnancy and that it cannot sustain it to the full term.
Spotting or bleeding that mimics your period may be a sign of early labor. Up to several weeks before your due date, your mucus plug may pass. This mucus will comprise of some blood which could lead you to mistake it for your period. This is usually accompanied by vaginal discharge. This occurrence is also known as pre-term labor and is very common.
Keep in mind that no matter what the cause is, bleeding during your pregnancy should be much lighter than your usual menstruation volume. If you experience heavy bleeding and cramps, seek medical attention immediately as this may be a sign of a miscarriage or a severe problem with either you or the fetus.