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Bleeding during pregnancy: causes and what to do in each trimester

Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy is a very common situation and does not always indicate serious problems, but it is important that it is evaluated by your doctor as soon as you notice that you are bleeding because it may also be a sign of concern.

Slightly pink, dark red or medium brownish blood can be normal and result from changes that occur in your body. However, they can also indicate worrying situations, such as a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy that develops outside the uterus, for example, especially if they become abundant and bright red.

So, some situations that can lead to bleeding during pregnancy are:

  • Bleeding leakage or spotting;
  • Ectopic pregnancy;
  • Placental abruption;
  • Placenta previa;
  • Spontaneous abortion;
  • Uterine infection.

There are several causes, making it difficult to differentiate between the causes of bleeding, it is very important to seek an obstetrician as quickly as possible so that the necessary assessments and treatments started as quickly as possible.

In addition, the possible causes of bleeding can vary according to the trimester of pregnancy, and may be:

Bleeding during pregnancy: causes and what to do in each trimester

1. First trimester

Bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy is common within the first 15 days after conception and in this case bleeding is pinkish, lasts for about 2 days and causes cramps equal to menstruation.

This may be the first symptom that indicates pregnancy in some women, and so it is important to confirm that you are pregnant by using a pregnancy test.

  • What can it be: although it may be normal this bleeding in the beginning of pregnancy, if it is intense, bright red or accompanied by nausea and cramps, it may indicate a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy outside of the uterus.
  • What to do: It is important that you contact an obstetrician immediately or go to the emergency room for an evaluation of the possible causes.

During the first 3 months of pregnancy you may also have a dark colored discharge, like coffee grounds, but because it is unrelated to your menstrual cycle, it may appear on any given day. In this case, because it could be an ectopic pregnancy it may lead to an abortion.

2. Second trimester

The second trimester of pregnancy corresponds to the 4 th and the 6 th month of gestation, which begins at the 13 th week and ends at the 24 th week of pregnancy.

  • What can it be: From 3 months, bleeding in pregnancy is uncommon and may indicate placental abruption, miscarriage, low insertion placenta, infection of the cervix or an injury to the uterus caused by intimate contact.
  • What to do: It is recommended that you go to the obstetrician or emergency room as soon as possible.

Worrying bleeds are usually accompanied by other warning signs, such as abdominal pain, fever or decreased fetal movements, for example.

3. Third trimester

When bleeding happens after 24 weeks of gestation, it may already indicate signs of labor, although it may also indicate some problems.

  • What can it be: some of these situations can be placenta previa or placental detachment. In addition, some women may also have a small bleeding late in pregnancy due to labor, release of the mucus plug and rupture of the membranes, which is usually accompanied by irregular contractions that indicate that the baby will be born soon.
  • What to do: Pregnant woman should go immediately to the emergency room and seek advice of the obstetrician who accompanies her.

In the last 3 months, it is still common for a woman to experience bleeding after intimate contact, as the birth canal becomes more sensitive, bleeding easily. You should go to the hospital if the bleeding continues for more than 1 hour.

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