During the beautiful phase of pregnancy, even small occurrences can be alarming. Though light bleeding or spotting during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is considered normal, one must take care as bleeding can heighten the chances of a miscarriage.
Differentiating between spotting and bleeding could be the key to saving your child.
Spotting and bleeding are entirely different incidents. Spotting is a coloured vaginal discharge that leaves marks on the pad or panties. It is usually pink or light red in colour whereas in bleeding, there is enough fluid to soak the pad and it is usually bright red in colour.
If you see small spots in light pink or brown colour in your underwear, 10-14 days after ovulation, it could be implantation bleeding. Women often mistake it for menstruation. It lasts only few hours or for few days, and is very light in nature.
Bleeding or spotting during the third trimester is a sign of labour. It shows that the baby is getting ready to come out. The cause of this light bleeding could be the breakage of the mucus plug. This is absolutely normal and not a cause for worry. But, the mother should be given best care and attention as labour pain is not far away.
STDs and infections
Most doctors will eliminate the possibilities of sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea in the beginning of pregnancy, as these can pose threats to the baby. Group B Strep bacterial infection is also routinely screened for as it can affect the lifespan of the new-born. In most cases, babies are stillborn or sick.
As these diseases and infections can cause irritation in the vagina with spotting or bleeding being the first sign. If you experience unusual pain during urination or vomiting or sometimes a stomach pain, consider the possibility of STDs or infections and seek professional help as they can be fatal for the child.
Sub chronic Haemorrhage
Sub chronic haemorrhage is a condition that occurs when the blood is accumulated in the folds of the outer foetal membrane, next to the placenta or between the uterus and placenta. Usually, it resolves on its own but sometimes it can cause risk and other complications. This haemorrhage causes heavy spotting in brown or dark red colour, and sometimes with a blood clot. Prompt medical attention is advised.
When the fertilized embryo grows outside the uterus in the fallopian tube, it is called Ectopic pregnancy or tubal pregnancy. It can rupture the fallopian tube. In such cases and the lack of proper treatment can be life-threatening for the mother. If dark brown or red blood droplets are seen along with unusual abdominal pain, shoulder pain and light-headedness, the possibility of Ectopic pregnancy should be considered.
Bright red spotting or bleeding in the first trimester can be a sign of miscarriage. The risk of miscarriage is high in the first 12 weeks due to several reasons. A miscarriage is often accompanied by heavy bleeding, followed by heavy cramps in the abdomen and tissues passing through the vagina. In the beginning of pregnancy, miscarriage will have cramps and bleeding for only a few hours. But women in the later stages of pregnancy will experience bleeding for up to two weeks.
When to call a doctor?
It is easy for an expectant mother to be confused about these signs as spotting is normal during pregnancy. Many women might not be able to differentiate between normal spotting and dangerous bleeding until it is too late. If the spotting is minimal and there is no unusual pain, there is nothing to worry about.
However, if you start experiencing other uncomfortable symptoms, it is safe to pay a visit to your gynaecologist. As per the symptoms, the doctor will do tests such as checking the HCG, vaginal examination and an ultrasound to ensure the safety of the mother and child.