Let us understand how spotting is different from bleeding during pregnancy. Spotting is very light bleeding as similar to as when you may have experienced at the start or at the end of your regular period. The color of the blood may be light pink or red. While bleeding is continuous flow of blood from the vagina as it occurs during menstruation. Spotting during first trimester of pregnancy is very common and in most cases it is not an alarming situation. But because bleeding during pregnancy can be a sign of something serious as well, for example an impending miscarriage, you should not take any chance and consult your doctor as soon as possible. However bleeding during second trimester is a sign of serious complication. Studies have revealed at least 30% of women may experience spotting during first trimester and not all may land up with miscarriage.
The three most guiding symptoms of miscarriage are pain in the lower abdomen that is stronger than menstrual pain. Bleeding from vagina, it may be spotting or mild to heavy blood flow and passage of conception material.
Several causes have been noted for spotting during first trimester of pregnancy.
Implantation bleeding: it is common to experience mild spotting in first 12 days after conceiving, as the fertilized egg gets implanted in the inner lining of the uterus. Implantation bleeding varies in every woman, for some it may be for few hours, while some women may experience mild spotting for a day or two.
Miscarriage: as miscarriage is the main worry in first trimester, even slightest spotting may need further examination and evaluation by the attending health care practitioner. On an average, half of the women who bleed during pregnancy may finally miscarry. But contrary to this fact, it does not mean that if a woman is bleeding she has lost her child, especially when there are no other miscarriage symptoms.
Infection such as gonorrhea, herpes, Chlamydia can cause bleeding from cervix, vagina or from urinary tract.
Intercourse during first trimester may trigger spotting. This is because the cervix has become sensitive and patulous due to extra blood flow. If you suspect it to be a cause, discontinue sex for some days till you consult your doctor. It is important to note that having normal sex during first trimester is not responsible for miscarriage.
Physical examination can also cause some amount of bleeding due to tender cerivix.
Ectopic Pregnancy: pregnancy that occurs inside the fallopian tube. The fertilized egg fails to enter the uterus and attaches on the wall of the fallopian tube. It is a serious condition if the embryo begins to grow as ultimately it may burst the tube. At least 2 percent of all pregnancies are ectopic.
What are the Causes of Spotting during Second Trimester
Spotting and bleeding during second half of pregnancy demands quick medical attention. There are several reason and complications associated with spotting during second half of pregnancy.
An inflamed cervix or a growth such as polyp on the cervix may not pose any danger as other problems do. These conditions are;
Placenta Previa: although placenta previa is rare in occurrence (1 in 200 cases), it is a serious medical emergency. In this condition the palcenta is implanted partially or completely on the lower uterine segment. Bleeding is painless. Bleeding starts spontaneously often during sleep. The risk of placenta previa is high in a woman who is carrying twins. Women with previous deliveries or cesarean section may be at a risk of placenta previa.
Placenta Abruption: separation of placenta from the uterus wall before or during labor. Placenta separation in such situation is dangerous for both mother and the fetus.
Rupture of uterus may also cause spontaneous bleeding. It is a life threatening condition and requires an emergency cesarean section.