Bleeding during Pregnancy
Bleeding during pregnancy is a very scary symptom for most women and most will seek medical assistance for the same. However not all vaginal bleeding is sinister and most women who have minor episodes of bleeding with the first 12 weeks of pregnancy go on to deliver healthy babies.
The first 12 weeks of pregnancy see nearly 50% of the vaginal bleedings. Bleeding during the first trimester can be due to abortion, either threatened or incomplete or complete. It can also be due to cancer of cervix. Due to the increased softness and blood supply to cervix during pregnancy it may bleed after sex or pelvic exam. Other causes include implantation bleeding, ectopic pregnancy, cervical infections and molar pregnancy.
Any spotting or light vaginal bleeding is unlikely to be of any consequence but do make a mental note of it and inform your doctor on your next visit. If you suffer any amount of vaginal bleeding lasting more than a day is dangerous and you must contact your doctor within 24 hours. If you have heavy bleeding or bleeding associated with cramps and abdominal pains contact your healthcare provider immediately.
During the second and third trimesters, the common causes of vaginal bleeding include abortion, placenta previa and placental abruption. Other causes include cervical infections, growth, pre term labour, cervical in competence, and rupture of a uterine scar.
During the second trimester (weeks 12-28) you must contact your doctor within the same day if you notice light vaginal bleeding. Any bleeding more that light requires urgent attention especially if it is heavy or associated with abdominal pain and cramp, fever, chills and vomiting. Any bleeding in the third trimester is significant and should be immediately shown to a doctor.
Any discussion of vaginal bleeding will be incomplete without out a discussion on “Show”. Towards the final months of pregnancy, as the uterus prepares for deliver, the cervix thins out and the cerival opening starts opening up. When this happens women may experience passage of blood stained stringy mucous. This is called show and in the absence of pelvic exam within the past 48 hours is a reliable sign of onset of labour within the next 48 hours. However it is pertinent to mention that any bleeding more than a slight blood stained mucous discharge is significant and medical attention must be sought immediately.