Spotting and Light Bleeding in First Trimester of Pregnancy

If you are, or have been, a pregnant mother, you must have experienced spotting or light bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is something which can throw anyone in a fit of panic, so you are no exception. However, worrying and fretting is not going to give you any help: it will only make matters worse. Keep your calm and do what you need to do: yes, call your doctor and fix an appointment. That’s probably the only thing you can do right now.

And while you are waiting for your gynecologist to come or the appointed time for your visit to approach, read this article to get a better knowledge of what you are going through.

Spotting Or Bleeding?

Some women face spotting in pregnancy while others experience light bleeding. It is essential to know the difference between the two. Spotting refers to a state in which a few drops of pink, brown or reddish blood are seen on the pregnant woman’s underpants. The quantity of the blood is not much to soil the panty liner. Bleeding, on the other hand, refers to a relatively heavier flow of dark red blood which forces the pregnant woman to wear a panty or pad to make sure the blood does not soak through her clothes.

Spotting Or Bleeding

Be it spotting or bleeding; it can be a danger alarm. See your obstetrician at once!

Is it Normal to Spot while Pregnant?

The answer is, probably! Spotting during pregnancy is a common concern faced by many women around the globe. It is estimated that around 20% of pregnant women experience spotting or light bleeding during the first trimester (first three months) of their pregnancy. In many cases, this phenomenon does not pose any threat to the unborn child, and the mothers go on to have a normal and healthy birth at the end.

“Bleeding in early pregnancy is fairly common and occurs in about 20 to 30 percent of pregnancies during the first trimester,” Brown said. “Some pregnancies in which bleeding occurs continue to have normal outcomes.”

However, bleeding in the later pregnancy or constant bleeding accompanied by pain and cramps is a matter that can be dangerous and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. In any case, it is always better to consult your gynecologist to make sure everything is going fine.

Pregnancy Spotting Colours

As I’ve already mentioned, a woman may face spotting or bleeding during pregnancy which is somewhat common among women. However, the color of blood determines whether you need immediate medical assistance or it’s not something to worry about. Whatever the case, it is understood that you are going to see your doctor, so make sure you have enough information about your condition.

Blood usually comes in three colors during early pregnancy. You can notice it on your panty or wipes. It is essential to know the difference between your doctor is going to need it to make a proper diagnosis and assist you in the best way possible.


  • Pink: in case your spotting displays a pink tinge, it is probably nothing to worry about. This condition is quite common among pregnant women whose fertilized egg implants itself on the uterine wall. Nothing to break a sweat!
  • Brown: it is the colour of “old blood” or “dried blood” which may point to a previous clotted blood from vaginal injury or a healed cervical injury. However, if the blood comes out in clots and is in a higher volume, it is time to see your doctor. Things may not be as good as you think.
  • Red: if your panty displays a bigger-than-normal red spot, call your doctor at once and get your pregnancy evaluated! It is probably something serious. While red blood does not necessarily mean a miscarriage, it can indicate other serious complications. Better safe than sorry!

Causes of Spotting/Bleeding in First Trimester of Pregnancy

While you may feel alright during pregnancy and there is apparently nothing you feel amiss, complications may arise which later manifest themselves in the form of spotting or light bleeding during pregnancy. However, things may not always be dangerous. In any case, it is good to know about various reasons for spotting/bleeding:

1.Implantation Bleeding

Some pregnant women experience this condition when the fertilized egg is rooted on the wall of the uterus and begins to grow. The condition arises typically during the first month after conception. However, you need not worry: this is entirely normal and should not require any medical treatment.

2. Sexual Intercourse

Having sex during pregnancy may also lead to spotting or light bleeding. According to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), more blood flows towards cervix during pregnancy, so it is normal to notice bleeding after sexual intercourse.

3. Gynecological Exam

If you have a cervical polyp (which is an entirely normal condition), an internal exam like vaginal ultrasound may result in spotting for up to a week. Conversely, any internal gynecological exam may result in spotting and bleeding. However, there is nothing to worry about. It will stop on its own in a few days.

4. Heavy Exercising

As I’ve already mentioned, blood flow towards cervix increases during pregnancy. Consequently, anything that touches or irritates it can cause bleeding. Heavy exercise is one such culprit which leads to spotting during pregnancy. However, it’s not something serious and lasts for a day or two. Ease off a bit of your exercise, and you are good to go.

5. Ectopic Pregnancy

In some pregnant women, a condition arises when the fertilized egg does not grow inside the uterus but somewhere outside it. This condition is known as ectopic pregnancy or a tubal pregnancy. Usually, bleeding, in this case, is accompanied by acute pain in shoulder, abdomen or pelvis. Ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency so contact your doctor at once if any of the symptoms appear.

6. Infection

Spotting may not always be related to pregnancy conditions. In many cases, a vaginal infection, like yeast or bacterial infection may also result in bleeding. In such infections, the cervix becomes inflamed and starts bleeding at the smallest chance of irritation.

7. Molar Pregnancy

It is an abnormal form of pregnancy in which a fertilized egg implants in the uterus but fails to grow normally. Instead, the tissue which normally grows into placenta forms an abnormal growth or tumor leading to excessive bleeding, severe nausea and vomiting during the first trimester. It is a serious condition, so if the symptoms appear, consult your doctor right away for a proper medical treatment.

8. Miscarriage

Almost half the pregnant women who experience bleeding during the first trimester end up in miscarriage, especially if bleeding is accompanied by severe abdominal pain and cramping. Consult your gynecologist at the first sign of bleeding and get an ultrasound. The good news is that if your ultrasound shows normal heartbeat for up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, your chances of getting a healthy pregnancy are more than 90 percent.

What to do if Spotting/Bleeding Continues?

Consult your doctor! Full stop. There are no two options in this situation. Heavy and continuous bleeding may be an indication of a subchorionic hemorrhage or worse, threatened miscarriage. Based on your condition, the obstetrician may recommend emergency treatment or evaluation of your pregnancy through an ultrasound to check for any signs of danger or serious complications. In the meantime, you can take some precautionary measures like limiting your physical activity and taking proper bed rest, keeping yourself suitably hydrated, avoiding climbing stairs and keeping away from lifting heavy objects.

To Conclude

Any type of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy can be a symptom of a severe complication. Do NOT wait for it to stop or get better on its own. Call your doctor at the first sign of spotting or bleeding and get the required treatment. “A stitch in time saves nine”, right?

What are your thoughts on the topic? Being an experienced mother, what will you recommend to new moms-to-be? Share your thoughts with us.

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