It is not normal to have a period while pregnant, because pregnancy usually interrupts the menstrual cycle. The internal lining of the uterus does not shed, as this tissue is necessary for the baby’s development.
If you have a confirmed pregnancy and suspect you are menstruating, you should seek medical attention. Bleeding during pregnancy can be a sign of an abnormal condition, like ectopic pregnancy or placental abruption.
In short, blood loss during pregnancy is not related to menstruation. Therefore, you should consult your obstetrician if you experience bleeding to ensure the pregnancy is not at-risk.
Causes of bleeding during pregnancy
Bleeding during pregnancy can occur for several reasons, depending on the stage of your pregnancy.
Bleeding right at the beginning of pregnancy is common in the first 15 days after conception. This bleeding is pinkish in color and lasts for about 2 days. Cramping may also be felt. Therefore, women who are two weeks pregnant and experience bleeding may confuse early-pregnancy bleeding for a period. Read more about early signs of pregnancy.
The most common causes of bleeding during pregnancy are:
|Pregnancy stages||Common causes for bleeding|
|First trimester - 1 to 12 weeks||
|Second trimester - 13 to 24 weeks||
Inflammation of uterus;
|Third trimester - 25 to 40 weeks||
Onset of labor.
Bleeding may also be noted following vaginal examinations, transvaginal ultrasounds, and amniocentesis. Some pregnant women may also bleed following exercise.
Learn more about the causes of brown discharge during pregnancy.
How long will a pregnant women menstruate for?
Pregnant women do not menstruate, as ovulation and shedding of the uterine lining do not occur during pregnancy.
However, at the beginning of pregnancy, scant bleeding is common in the first 15 days following conception. Bleeding occurs due to embryonic implantation, also referred to as implantation bleeding. In these cases, the blood is pink or brown and lasts for 2 to 3 days. It may be associated with cramping similar to menstruation.
Women who are 2 weeks pregnant, for example, but have not completed a pregnancy test may think they are menstruating, when really they are pregnant and experiencing implantation bleeding.
Is it possible to have a heavy flow period while pregnant?
No, it it is not possible ot experience a heavy flow period while pregnant. However, there are other reasons for bleeding during pregnancy that may be confused for menstruation.
If you experience heavy vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, follow up with your OB immediately or proceed to the nearest hospital for assessment and to rule out whether the bleeding is related to a miscarriage.
What to do when bleeding during pregnancy
If you bleed during your pregnancy, no matter at what stage you are at, you should rest and avoid any further strenuous activity. You should consult your obstetrician and be examined. The doctor may order an ultrasound to help identify the cause of bleeding.
In most cases, a scant amount of blood that happens sporadically at any stage of pregnancy is not serious and does not indicate a problem. However, you should be assessed immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Frequent bleeding. If you need more than one pantyliner per day, for instance;
- Loss of bright red blood in any stage of pregnancy;
- Bleeding with or without clots and strong abdominal pain;
- Bleeding, loss of liquid, and fever.
In the last three months of pregnancy, it is common for the expecting mother to bleed after sexual intercourse, as the birth canal becomes increasingly sensitive, and bleeds easily. If bleeding after intercourse persists for over an hour, you should go to the hospital for assessment.