Normally, pregnant women stop having menstrual periods, vaginal bleeding but can still heavy bleeding with blood clots occur during pregnancy. Although bleeding may be disturbing, it can happen during the first quarter, the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Up to 10 percent of women may experience abnormal bleeding during pregnancy and women expecting multiple babies have a higher incidence of vaginal bleeding. Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is abnormal and requires evaluation to determine the cause and severity of the condition.
The bleeding during pregnancy ranges from light spotting to heavy bleeding similar to menstrual flow. The spots can appear and disappear without treatment or stop completely. Blood may appear pink, bright red, dark red or brown. Blood clots may also occur. In addition to bleeding, women may experience abdominal or back pain.
Between 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, usually within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. One of the first indicators of a miscarriage includes vaginal bleeding. An entopic pregnancy is a condition when the embryo implants in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus located. Bleeding may occur due to a ruptured fallopian tube, while the embryo grows. Additional terms for bleeding in pregnancy include an irritable cervix, cervical infection or cervical cancer. As pregnancy continues, the cervix can cause bleeding due to inflammation and irritation. This bleeding tends to be light.
Tests and diagnosis
In early pregnancy, a blood test to measure levels of human chronic gonadotropin, or HCG, helps determine if the pregnancy is continued developing normally or a miscarriage is imminent. HCG levels can also help determine an entopic pregnancy. An ultrasound can help determine the cause of the bleeding. A doctor may perform a pelvic exam to check the status of the cervix.
Treatment for bleeding during pregnancy depends on the cause of the bleeding. Some of the causes such as irritable cervix not require medical treatment. Serious complications, such as placenta previa or abruptio placenta, conditions require immediate evaluation by a physician to help prevent life-threatening complications for the baby.
Prevention of abnormal bleeding is not always possible during pregnancy. Having a nutritious diet, taking prenatal vitamins and regular visits to the doctor helps increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Avoid the use of drugs and alcohol will help reduce the chances of a miscarriage.