What Causes Heavy Bleeding During Pregnancy in Each Trimester?

Any bleeding and obviously, heavy bleeding during pregnancy is a serious threat to the health and life of both the fetus and the mother. Therefore, such a condition cannot be ignored! According to statistics, bleeding in pregnant women is observed quite often. A similar problem affects up to 20% of future mothers. If you notice bleeding of any nature, immediately seek medical help. Even if the bloody discharge does not pose any threat, it is still better to consult a doctor.

Bleeding During the 1st Trimester of Pregnancy

Most often, bleeding occurs within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. In these cases, the doctor using an ultrasound checks whether the placenta is damaged and whether the heart of the embryo beats (it can already be determined from the 6th week). Also, the doctor checks whether the orifice of the uterus is closed.

Causes of Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

Damage of the Orifice of the Uterus

It is the most common, but a harmless cause. At this time, the orifice of the uterus is abundantly supplied with blood and has increased sensitivity. During sexual intercourse or sports activities, damage or rupture of blood vessels may occur. Usually, this is not a type of heavy bleeding during pregnancy. In this case, bleeding is painless, often weak, and usually takes 4-6 hours. Treatment: have more rest, postpone sports for a couple of days.


Approximately in every 50th pregnant woman on the day of the normal menstrual period, there is light spotting bloody discharge, the cause of which has not yet been revealed. These discharges are not dangerous. Such bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy disappears by itself in a few days.


Lack of Pregnancy Hormone

If the ovaries produce an insufficient amount of the hormone of the yellow body (progesterone), the mucous membrane of the uterus is rejected and bleeds (as during menstruation). Often this is observed in women with irregular cycles, and after infertility treatment. Implantation of the egg can occur with impairment.

Thus, the development of the placenta slows down. The result is bleeding similar to mild menstruation. At the same time, it can lead to heavy bleeding during pregnancy. Treatment: there is a need to increase the amount of progesterone. In this case, doctors prescribe suppositories, pills, or injections, as well as more rest.

Miscarriage (Abortion)

IIf the fetus develops incorrectly, the body itself often spontaneously interrupts pregnancy. Presumably, about 60% of all early miscarriages (between the 6th and 12th weeks) are caused by an improper fetal position due to genetic disorders. Usually, a woman can soon conceive again and have no problems with bearing a child.

Miscarriage is often preceded by pain in the lower abdomen, similar to severe pain while menstruation. Having these alarming symptoms, you need to see a doctor, as it can lead to heavy bleeding during pregnancy. Treatment: rest and special medications for the uterus. If the fetus has already died (it is detected with the help of ultrasound), the remains of the placenta and mucous membrane are removed from the uterus under short-term general anesthesia.

Tubal Pregnancy

Approximately every 100th woman has a fertilized egg that does not enter the uterus but gets stuck in the fallopian tube. The reason can be scars and adhesions in the fallopian tubes. The risk of ectopic pregnancy increases with the use of contraceptive spirals, as well as with frequent and untreated inflammations of the ovaries. The greatest danger arises when the embryo is already so large that the tube tears apart (often within 7-9 weeks of pregnancy).

Thus, heavy bleeding during pregnancy can occur. What’s more, this condition can put a woman’s life under the threat. Symptoms are similar to contractions. Often there is unilateral pain in the lower abdomen, and spotting. Treatment: immediate surgery to remove the ruptured tube, stop bleeding and preserve the remaining fallopian tube.


Bleeding During the 2nd Trimester of Pregnancy

Between the 14th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, bleeding occurs rarely. The mother’s body has completely changed in order to bear the baby. The most common causes of bleeding during this period of pregnancy are a fall or a blow to the stomach. With pain in the abdomen, you need to consult a doctor, even if you do not see any blood. The cause of the pain can be a hemorrhage between the wall of the uterus and the placenta. If the placenta does not function properly, the fetus may be in danger. Treatment: bed rest.

Bleeding During the 3rd Trimester of Pregnancy

Bleeding after the 28th week of pregnancy occurs at every 20th pregnancy. It can be dangerous for the life of the mother and the child. You need to call an ambulance immediately. Before its arrival you need to lie on your left side (so that the baby does not squeeze the large abdominal vein), slightly lifting legs with the help of a pillow.

Causes of Bleeding During Late Stage of Pregnancy

Wrong Position of the Placenta

Approximately in every 500th pregnant woman’s placenta is located near the orifice of the uterus or above it (placenta previa). This is usually detected during a prophylactic examination using ultrasound. Preliminary contractions can cause ruptures of blood vessels in the placenta. As a result, painless, often easy bleeding occurs, which, however, can lead to heavy bleeding during pregnancy. Treatment: hospital treatment, medications calming the uterus, with severe bleeding – cesarean section.


Early Placental Abruption

In rare cases, the placenta is separated before birth. Consequences: hemorrhage, severe constant pain in the lower abdomen, firm uterus. There is usually little blood. But heavy bleeding during pregnancy, in this case, is also possible. There is also a risk of vascular collapse. Treatment: most often – immediate cesarean section.

Other Causes of Bleeding, Including Heavy Bleeding During Pregnancy

Bleeding during pregnancy can have a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Frozen pregnancy, in which the fetus dies in the womb.
  • Inflammation of the cervix.
  • Multiple pregnancy.
  • Injury of the abdomen.
  • Implantation of the ovum to the walls of the uterus.
  • Cervical erosion.
  • Polyps of the cervical canal.
  • Myoma of the uterus.
  • Sexual intercourse during pregnancy. It occurs due to irritation of the cervix and the vagina.
  • Molar pregnancy. This is a condition in which placenta tissue proliferation occurs. In this case, bleeding is abundant, but there is no pain.
  • Malformations of the fetus.
  • Low level of progesterone.
  • Infections of the bladder.
  • Detachment of the placenta.
  • Premature birth.
  • Varicose veins of the vagina.
  • Rupture of the uterus, which occurs in late pregnancy. Women who have had a cesarean section, with multiple pregnancies, and scars left after surgery are in the risk group.
  • Cervical cancer.
  • Sometimes invasive gynecological examinations, such as blood samples from the umbilical cord, the study of amniotic fluid (amniocentesis) or chorion biopsy can also cause heavy bleeding during pregnancy.

How Dangerous is Heavy Bleeding During Pregnancy?

Trauma of the vagina, erosion, polyposis, and hereditary pathologies can lead to serious complications:

  • penetration of the infection, which can cause intrauterine fetal death;
  • septic shock caused by fetal death and the presence of its remains in the body of the mother;
  • hemorrhagic shock due to significant blood loss;
  • development of an oncological tumor.

Therefore, even with minor bleeding, it is necessary to visit the gynecologist as soon as possible.

What to do with Bleeding During Pregnancy?

Self-diagnosis is fraught with the risk of losing a child, and often the death of the mother.

Therefore, it is necessary to undergo appropriate diagnostics to make sure that there is no danger to health, as well as the life of a woman and the fetus.

For example, if there is a threat of a miscarriage, you can save the fetus if you stop the blood loss quickly enough.

If bleeding is discovered during pregnancy, you should urgently call an ambulance and stay in bed before its arrival.


At rest, the intensity of bleeding is slightly reduced, which can be a decisive factor for doctors when deciding whether there is a chance of saving the pregnancy.

Do not go to the doctor by public transport. Firstly, you may lose too much precious time. Secondly, if the condition becomes worse, you may simply not receive the necessary help in time. In extreme cases, you can take a taxi or your own car, but do not drive yourself.

If doctors admit that there is no particular danger, but suggest you be observed in the inpatient department, it is better to agree. This is the ideal option for the full range of medical services.

If you face heavy bleeding during pregnancy, do not panic. Immediately contact your doctor. The doctors will try to save the fetus and prevent a threat to the health and life of the woman.

Bleeding is the Cause to Urgently Contact the Doctor

Heavy bleeding during pregnancy can be a sign of great danger. However, in many cases, at the initial stage, the situation can be saved. The help of doctors in this matter is necessary.

The doctors can find out what caused the bleeding, whether there could be a miscarriage, how dangerous the condition is, etc. If necessary, therapy is prescribed, the purpose of which is to prevent complications and maintain a woman’s pregnancy.