First of all, it’s absolutely necessary for a future mother to understand that period while pregnant is literally impossible. Yes, there are situations when bleeding during pregnancy occurs when it’s about a time for a woman’s usual monthly period if not for pregnancy. However, this “period” usually differs from a normal menstruation which should be a reason for suspicions something is wrong. And, secondly, any deviation from the norm during pregnancy needs a consultation with a gynecologist.
The situation becomes even more complicated because period while pregnant in early terms is misleading the future mother – she may think she is not with child. This is especially true if period while pregnant is accompanied by a false-negative pregnancy test. As a result, some women don’t realize they’re pregnant for the entire first trimester! And sometimes early detection of pregnancy is an essential factor for its normal continuation.
Why can’t I have a period while pregnant?
In order to understand why a period during pregnancy is an impossible thing, it’s enough to recall a common anatomy course everyone receives at school.
The uterus consists of three layers:
- The perimetrium which covers the outer surface;
- The myometrium consisting of smooth muscle;
- The endometrium – the inner layer along with the mucous membrane.
Each of the layers performs its own functions. For example, the myometrium protects the fetus from outside influence and takes an active part in the process of giving birth, pushing the baby through the birth canal with its contractions.
The menstrual cycle affects only the endometrium. During the first half of the cycle, the inner layer of the uterus is gradually increasing. The purpose of this process is the maintenance of pregnancy until the placenta forms if the conception is going to happen. The fertilized egg implants into the thickened mucous membrane.
A menstruation is a complete detachment of endometrium in the case when pregnancy hasn’t taken place. The mucous membrane leaves the female body with the blood from the damaged blood vessels, and then the whole process starts over again. The logical conclusion is simple: the detachment of endometrium during pregnancy will lead to a miscarriage because the fertilized egg is implanted into the inner layer.
So, the questions “Can I have a period while pregnant?” and “What should a period while pregnant look like?” don’t have any sense because having a period while pregnant is a myth. It’s simply not possible. It’s more logical to ask about spotting during pregnancy or bleeding during pregnancy which are alarming symptoms.
Is period while pregnant always dangerous?
In most cases it’s true but, fortunately, not always. Of course, a period in early pregnancy is always not a normal thing but sometimes it’s not a sign of danger for the baby’s or the mother’s health. The situation, in some cases, can still be alright.
The most widespread and safe cause of a “period while pregnant” is implantation bleeding. This process can damage a few blood vessels and end in a small vaginal bleeding. But sometimes implantation happens without any unusual spotting.
A small period while pregnant can take place in some other cases which don’t bring any harm to the organism. For example, when a fertilized egg hasn’t managed to implant into the uterine wall before the usual menstruation time. The process of implantation requires about 7-15 days, so the period while pregnant is possible in this case. Just remember that it’s extremely rare. There are no hormonal changes at the time, so there is no reason for your body to stop the menstruation. The missed period, in this case, happens during the next cycle – a month later.
Sometimes 2 egg cells mature in different ovaries at the same time. If one of them is fertilized, and the other isn’t, then a woman also has a rare experience of a period while pregnant.
Another reason for a period while pregnant is various hormonal disruptions. For example, the lack of progesterone or excess androgens (male hormones) can be a cause of such a thing. In both occasions, there it’s not dangerous for your pregnancy until the hormonal levels don’t go beyond a certain limit. In more complicated situations the consequences can be serious. Fortunately, hormonal disruptions can be easily stopped by the intake of necessary hormones. But it requires a timely consultation with a physician – you can’t prescribe this hormonal treatment yourself.
Pathological processes that induce period while pregnant
Period while pregnant can be a symptom of a few diagnoses, some of them quite alarming.
In early pregnancy stages, vaginal bleeding is most often a sign of the fertilized egg’s detachment and, as a result, the risk of a miscarriage.
If the detachment is small the female body will most likely cope with it, increasing the production of progesterone. In this case, there won’t be much blood. You can feel no other symptoms at all. If a more serious situation takes place the period while pregnant will be painful and copious. Such symptoms are a reason for immediate consultation with a medical expert. You’ll need to stay in bed and rest. Bed rest will be absolutely necessary in order to maintain your pregnancy, so don’t disregard this recommendation.
The ovum detachment can sometimes be a reason for hospitalization of the pregnant woman. It can be caused by various diseases. Some of them are, for example, myometrium tumors and endometriosis. If the egg attaches itself to a place affected by the disease it induces the lack of oxygen and fetal death.
Genetic disorders or significant pathological malformations of the fetus being the result of fetal diseases (mostly infections) can also be a reason for a miscarriage. The continuation of pregnancy, in this case, is most likely not possible. There is only so much the doctors can do. The wisest thing is to examine the miscarried fetus and try to avoid such a situation in future.
Another deplorable condition which can induce a period while pregnant is an ectopic pregnancy. In this case, the implantation of the fertilized egg happens in the Fallopian tube instead of the uterus. As the embryo begins to grow, the lack of space in the tube can lead to its rupture which is a health-threatening condition because of the severe internal bleeding. Even if the health professionals are able to save the woman’s life (they usually are!) her reproductive function will be severely affected – the doctors can’t reconstruct the torn Fallopian tube.
If the gynecologist suspects an ectopic pregnancy they perform a pelvic ultrasound in order to confirm the diagnosis. And if it is confirmed an emergency surgery is needed.
Why is a period while pregnant dangerous?
It’s not so hard to guess that period while pregnant is dangerous only in the case of heavy bleeding, leading to a considerable blood loss. Period while pregnant isn’t as threatening as the health conditions which have caused it.
An expectant mother can’t make a diagnosis herself, without turning to a gynecologist. But women still try to do it: they discuss it with friends, look the answers up on forums, and waste their time. Unfortunately, in a number of cases, such actions have horrible consequences for the future mother and her unborn child.
That’s exactly why women should pay attention to their state of health. Any change in the menstrual cycle can be a cause for concern. It makes sense to consult a gynecologist so that they clarify the diagnosis.
We need to say it again: it’s not important why you have a period while pregnant. The doctor will find out the reason. The first and foremost thing you need to do is to urgently visit a clinic! The sooner your doctor prescribes treatment the better chances you’ll have to give birth to a healthy baby.
And even if your doctor won’t have any reasons for concern you’ll at least be sure everything is alright. You will understand that nothing horrible has happened, and all the changes are normal. Remember: stress isn’t good for a pregnant woman!