Early Pregnancy Bleeding: Is It Always a Reason for Panic?

early pregnancy bleeding. woman sitting on the bed

Pregnancy is not only the most joyful, but also the most worrying period in the life of almost any woman. And it’s rather clear why. There are plenty of reasons for worries. One of them is early pregnancy bleeding. As a rule, such bloody discharge causes panic in future mothers, which is not surprising.

However, not all bleeding that occurs in the early stages of pregnancy, indicate the presence of any pathological processes in the body of the future mother. Also, early pregnancy bleeding not necessarily requires immediate medical attention. Although, of course, a future mother should not ignore bleeding during pregnancy. Let’s take a closer look at this issue.

Physiological Causes of Early Pregnancy Bleeding

In the first few weeks of pregnancy there is a global restructuring of the entire body of a woman – both physiological and hormonal. And during this period, weak bleeding is by no means a sign of pathology. Moreover, in some cases it is insignificant blood loss that can become the first sign of pregnancy.

Implantation of the Fetal Egg

Bloody spotting can occur as a consequence of implantation of the fetal egg in the mucous membrane of the uterus. It is small fragments of the mucosa that separate from the vagina. These discharges can have a very different color – from cherry-red to brown. As a rule, such secretions are not very intensive. Usually they last only a few days. In rare cases, this phenomenon can be accompanied by spasms – a woman complains of pain in the lower abdomen. Keep in mind that such a bleeding can be the first sign of pregnancy.

However, such a process occurs even before the pregnancy is established. After all, the fetal egg is just beginning to be implanted into the mucous membrane of the uterus. Most often this process coincides with the expected period of menstruation. Incidentally, this phenomenon has led to the emergence of a very widespread opinion that menstruation during pregnancy does not stop in all women.

early pregnancy bleeding

Hormonal Background

In some cases, the cause of early pregnancy bleeding is the hormonal “storm” that rages in the body of a future mother. Such bleeding is very scanty, and lasts only for a few days. Most often, this bleeding occurs approximately 10 days after the first day of menstruation that didn’t take place. Such discharge isn’t a threat for the health of the child and the mother.

Softening of Cervix

Under the influence of many factors – including changes in the hormonal background – the blood flow to the cervix increases. Because of this, the cervix slightly softens and starts bleeding. Such bleeding can last several days in a row.

Cervical Erosion

Erosion of the cervix is ​​the most common cause of the appearance of bloody discharge in the early stages of pregnancy. Incidentally, erosion is also developing due to an increased flow of blood to the cervix. This can lead to inflammation and subsequent ulceration.

Bleeding due to erosion of the cervix can occur immediately after sexual intercourse, and sometimes without any apparent cause. Such early pregnancy bleeding is never abundant. The discharge has a brownish color. It can last only a day or two. But at the same time, the bleeding may take place for several weeks. As a rule, during pregnancy, the doctor does not appoint any cervical erosion treatment. Such discharge is usually not accompanied by any painful sensations and physical discomfort.

early pregnancy bleeding. cervical erosion. uterus


Erosion of the cervix is not the only reason that can cause early pregnancy bleeding. Rather often bleeding occurs due to the presence of uterine or cervical canal polyps. Polyps are completely painless tumors, formed either in the uterus cavity itself, or in its cervix. In this case, bleeding is also scanty and completely painless.

The doctor determines the tactics of treating polyps in each case individually.

Causes of Pathological Bleeding

However, as already mentioned above, not every bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy is so harmless. In some cases, bleeding represents a very serious threat to the woman’s body and the normal course of pregnancy. Let’s consider it more attentively:

Pathologies of the Cervix

We already spoke about the erosion of the cervix. However, this is the easiest violation. There are a number of serious pathologies of the cervix including malignant changes that can provoke early pregnancy bleeding.

Varicose Veins

Did you know that varicose veins can affect not only the legs, but also the genitals? And if these widened veins burst, there may be bloody discharge. In this case, they have a bright red color and are periodic in nature.

early pregnancy bleeding. Pain in abdomen

Detachment of the Placenta

The detachment of the placenta can be observed not only at the later stages of pregnancy, as most people think. It also occurs in the early stages. The detachment of the placenta can lead to early pregnancy bleeding. In most cases, with proper treatment, pregnancy can be saved.

About Miscarriage

One of the most dangerous causes of early pregnancy bleeding is spontaneous abortion or, more simply, miscarriage. Spontaneous abortion in most cases occurs precisely in the early stages – in the first three months. And one of the most important signs is bleeding.

Almost always this process begins in a standard way – bleeding is very scanty, and there are practically no painful sensations. However, such a bleeding does not stop, but, on the contrary, intensifies. And as the intensity of bleeding increases, painful sensations increase. Doctors distinguish several stages of miscarriage, which differ in the level of blood loss and degree of discomfort:

Threatened Miscarriage

The very first stage is a threatened miscarriage. Bloody discharge is very scanty, and pain can be completely absent. Still, if pain sensations arise, they are dull and localize in the lower abdomen and / or lower back.

early pregnancy bleeding. stomachache

At this stage, no pathological changes in the uterus and its cervix are yet occurring. And with active appropriate therapy, it is quite possible to keep the pregnancy in most cases. By the way, about 30% of all women who have successfully given birth to healthy babies went through this.

Start of Miscarriage

At the stage when the miscarriage began, the bleeding increases, and the pains acquire a cramping character. The external mouth of the womb begins to open slightly. The cervix itself begins to shorten. The general condition of the woman is still satisfactory. And at this stage, with the right and timely treatment, the probability of maintaining a pregnancy is high enough – about 80%.


If the moment is lost and abortion began, it is almost impossible to save the pregnancy. The bleeding becomes very plentiful, and the pain sensations are extremely intense. This condition poses a serious threat to the health of a woman and requires immediate hospitalization. Depending on the condition of the woman, she will be provided with the necessary assistance.

In the event that the miscarriage was incomplete, bloody discharge is particularly strong, have a dark red color with a large number of clots. Such bleeding is accompanied by severe cramping pain. In this case, the woman should receive the necessary medical care.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Another very sad cause of early pregnancy bleeding may be ectopic pregnancy. Let us recall what this term means. In normal pregnancy, the fetal egg is fixed in the mucous membrane of the uterus. However, unfortunately, in some cases this process fails. And the fetal egg is implanted in the cervix or fallopian tubes. Such a phenomenon is extremely dangerous and poses a serious threat not only to health, but also to the life of a woman.

early pregnancy bleeding. ectopic-pregnancy

One of the first signs of ectopic pregnancy is bleeding. As a rule, it is rather scanty and has a brown color. All signs of normal pregnancy, as a rule, are present – toxicosis, and enlargement of the mammary glands, and a positive pregnancy test. In some cases bleeding because of ectopic pregnancy can begin at a very early period, when a woman does not yet know that she is pregnant.


In any case, whatever the bleeding is caused by, it is necessary to consult your gynecologist as soon as possible. Even if bleeding does not pose a threat to the course of pregnancy, there is always a risk of developing other complications. For example, gestational anemia is a very unpleasant phenomenon. Its development is rather possible with prolonged bleeding.

The doctor will carefully examine the pregnant woman, prescribe the tests, conduct an ultrasound study that will help determine if there is a threat of spontaneous abortion. Based on all the obtained data, the doctor will objectively assess the condition of the woman and prescribe the necessary treatment.

Very often, future mothers do not go to the doctor, for fear of hospitalization. However, this is very reckless. If the doctor offers you hospitalization, do not refuse it.

Early pregnancy bleeding does not always indicate the presence of any pathology. However, do not leave any type of bleeding during pregnancy without attention.  There are both natural causes of early pregnancy bleeding and those that can carry a serious threat. If you have any worries, do not engage in self-treatment, consult your doctor!

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