One of the perks
of pregnancy – you know, other than no one judging your weird
Pringles-dipped-in-hot-sauce cravings – is that your period is basically MIA for
Technically, yes. You
definitely don’t menstruate (a.k.a. shed blood and tissue
from your uterus) each month, but that doesn’t mean your bathroom trips will
always be blood-free (which can be scary).
So, what if you see
something that looks like your period while you’re pregnant? First: Slow your
roll. Bleeding a bit during pregnancy is pretty common, but it can be
dangerous. Here’s what you need to know about bleeding while pregnant.
Wait, a little bleeding while you’re pregnant is normal?
It definitely can be,
says Dr Joanne Stone,
director of maternal foetal medicine at Mount Sinai Health System in New York
City. “Spotting occurs in about 30% of pregnancies in the first
trimester,” she says. While you should always check in with your doctor if you
notice blood, just to be safe, spotting isn’t usually a reason for concern, she
The spotting can
happen anytime, but typically after sex, or about three to four weeks into the
pregnancy. “Some people have bleeding around the time they would have expected
their period, a few weeks in,” Stone says. “This is usually due to implantation
and is just a coincidence.”
“Spotting occurs in
about 30% of pregnancies in the first trimester.”
But keep in mind,
there’s a big difference between spotting (very light bleeding, kind of like
when your period is just starting or ending) and a full-on period. That’s
because you need the blood your body normally sheds during your period to
nourish the embryo or foetus.
Read more: 12 reasons why you’ve got period symptoms but no period
When should I be worried about bleeding while pregnant?
you know you’re pregnant and you’re bleeding enough to fill a pad,
you need to get in touch with your doctor asap, says Nicole Bullock, an
obstetric-gynaecologist in Texas. “In the first trimester, up to about 20
weeks, we worry about miscarriage with heavy bleeding,” she says.
But miscarriage isn’t
the only explanation: Persistent bleeding can also mean that the
placenta has grown low in the cervix. While you can have a completely normal
and safe pregnancy with a low-lying placenta (called placenta previa), your
doctor will likely ask you to abstain from sex and may recommend bed rest in
your third trimester, says Bullock.
bleeding later in your pregnancy can be a sign of something more serious like
preterm labour or placental abruption (when your placenta tears away from your
But even then, you’ll
be dealing with much more than just bleeding; you’ll also notice extreme pain,
says Bullock. In that case, you’ll need to go the hospital where doctors will
deliver the baby, she says. Still, placental abruption is extremely rare
(especially if you avoid drugs and alcohol, and go to all your prenatal
checkups), says Bullock.
Of course, it’s best
to play it safe. So if you’ve noticed blood and you’re worried about it – and
especially if you experience any pain along with it – give your
obstetric-gynaecologist a call. Otherwise, enjoy your short vacation from tampons.
This article was
originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com
Image credit: iStock