Bleeding During Pregnancy

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At any stage during your pregnancy, bleeding should always be investigated as it may indicate something more serious.

When should I be concerned about bleeding during pregnancy?

Is it normal to bleed during pregnancy ? Regrettably, there are some instances where bleeding during pregnancy indicates problems. If you feel severe abdominal pain and cramps, it may be signs of a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy or placental problems. You may also experience dizziness and fainting, fatigue, fever and increased thirst, which indicate serious blood loss.

Spontaneous miscarriage:

This usually happens when the baby is not developing normally, probably caused by a genetic disorder. In this case, bleeding becomes increasingly heavier. Unfortunately, early miscarriages are common, but shouldn’t affect your ability to get pregnant again. If you have a miscarriage very early in your pregnancy, you may even mistake it by your period and never even realise that you were pregnant. Miscarriages later in pregnancy tend to be accompanied by severe abdominal pain.

Ectopic pregnancy

This type of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy occurs when the fertilised egg implants outside the uterus, usually along the Fallopian tubes. In this case, you’ll experience a continuous dark watery discharge, which can be very dangerous and needs medical attention immediately.

Molar pregnancy

Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy occurs when abnormal tissue starts developing in the uterus rather than a baby, caused by pregnancy hormones. This is usually treatable, but in some rare cases it may be cancerous.

Intrauterine fetal demise:

This occurs when the baby dies in the uterus, but there’s no spontaneous miscarriage. It can happen at any time during pregnancy, but it’s more common in the first trimester.

Placenta previa:

Bleeding may occur when the placenta covers the cervical opening. As your body prepares for delivery and the womb starts to dilate, some blood vessels in the placenta may rupture and start bleeding.

Placental abruption:

You may experience bleeding as the placenta separates from the uterus prematurely. This may occur after a car accident, high blood pressure or smoking.

Uterine rupture:

It’s rare, but very dangerous with heavy bleeding. In this case, the baby may be partially or completely expelled into the abdomen after rupture of the uterus.

Causes unrelated to pregnancy:

Heavy bleeding during early pregnancy may also be a consequence of trauma, tears to the vaginal wall or infections. Less common bleeding causes include fibroids, polyps, cervical and vaginal lesions or even inherited blood disorders, such as haemophilia.

What should I do?

Even if the bleeding stops and you don’t have other symptoms, speak to your doctor to find out why you’re bleeding. To ensure that your baby is developing normally, your doctor may perform a vaginal examination or send you for a scan, to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. You may also need to undergo blood and urine tests, to check your hormone levels. If you develop cramps and bleeding gets heavier, you need to go to hospital for immediate medical attention.

If your baby is developing normally, but you’re still bleeding, your doctor will recommend plenty of rest. You should stop any strenuous exercise and avoid dehydration.

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