Bleeding / spotting during the First Trimester

It is not entirely uncommon to have some sort of vaginal discharge during the first trimester. In many cases this vaginal discharge takes the form of bleeding or spotting. It is estimated that somewhere around a third of pregnant women will have some degree or another of bleeding/spotting during the first trimester. Generally speaking, bleeding or spotting during the first trimester is not something to be too concerned about. Still, it is important that you follow some specific guidelines in this regard. If you have bleeding or spotting during the first trimester, or at any time during pregnancy that lasts longer than 24 hours, is severe, or is accompanied by abdominal pain or by cramping, you should contact your health care provider.

During the first couple of weeks of pregnancy, even before a woman typically knows that she is pregnant, there can be a light bleeding or spotting. This is known as implantation bleeding, and occurs when the fertilized egg implants into the wall of the uterus.

Another common cause of bleeding/spotting during the first trimester is something called decidual bleeding. Decidual bleeding occurs in early pregnancy, before the lining of the uterus has completely attached to the placenta. During this time, a part of the lining of the uterus can be shed, causing decidual bleeding. This sort of bleeding/spotting during the first trimester is thought to be caused by an imbalance of hormones. Decidual bleeding is not thought to be in any way dangerous or harmful to you or to your growing baby. Still, because you cannot be certain on your own that your bleeding or spotting during the first trimester is decidual bleeding, you should always contact your health care provider if you have any severe bleeding during the first trimester, or really at any time during pregnancy.

If you have spotting or bleeding during the first trimester, you can use panty liners. You should never use tampons during pregnancy, because they can introduce bacteria and germs into the vaginal region. You also should not douche during pregnancy, because douching upsets the rather delicate balance of bacteria in the vagina, and can also lead to infection.


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