Pregnancy Information Center

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


Spotting and Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy: Your Symptoms Manual


What Spotting and Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy Are

Spotting is very light bleeding, like what you might typically have at the beginning or end of your period. It can vary in color — pink, red, brown. Vaginal bleeding is heavier, like your period.

Why Spotting and Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy Happen

There are many reasons for spotting or vaginal bleeding throughout your pregnancy. Some are benign, such as implantation bleeding, which occurs 8 to 10 days after ovulation during your first trimester, when the fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall. (If you've already had a positive pregnancy test and you're bleeding, it's not implantation bleeding.) 

But bleeding can be a sign of something more serious, such as a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy (when the pregnancy develops outside the uterus) or molar pregnancy (a rare pregnancy complication) — especially if it's accompanied by cramps. Bleeding occurs in just 25% of pregnancies, and only half of those end in a miscarriage, so the chances are small. If you had an ultrasound between 7 and 11 weeks and the heartbeat was strong, your chances of continuing the pregnancy are very good (90%).

Third trimester bleeding might be caused by problems with your placenta or premature labor. Placenta previa is a complication in which the placenta grows in the lowest part of the womb (uterus) and covers all or part of the cervix. Premature labor is labor that starts at fewer than 37 weeks.

Bleeding can also be caused by infections, such as a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, chlamydia or herpes.

How to Manage Spotting or Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy

Call your healthcare provider, even if the bleeding has stopped. You may need to go in for an exam to make sure nothing is wrong.


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