Bleeding During Pregnancy (First Trimester)

  • Medical Author: Wayne Blocker, MD
  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Early Pregnancy Symptoms Slideshow Pictures

Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms

There are three classic signs and symptoms of ectopic pregnancy

  1. abdominal pain,
  2. the absence of menstrual periods , and
  3. spotting (vaginal bleeding or intermittent bleeding).

However, approximately 50% of women with an ectopic pregnancy will not have all three signs.

Quick GuideFetal Development Stages: Month by Month Embryo Pictures

Fetal Development Stages: Month by Month Embryo Pictures

Bleeding during pregnancy the first trimester facts

  • Vaginal bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy is relatively common.
  • Some amount of light bleeding or spotting during pregnancy occurs in about 20% of pregnancies.
  • In some cases, particularly when there is heavy bleeding and cramping, bleeding during pregnancy is the sign of a serious problem.
  • Implantation bleeding is bleeding that occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus. This happens around the time of the expected menstrual period.
  • Implantation bleeding may occur before a woman realizes she is pregnant.
  • Serious causes of vaginal bleeding in the first trimester include

Is bleeding during pregnancy normal?

Vaginal bleeding during the first three months of pregnancy is relatively common and usually is a cause of concern for the mother. If bleeding during pregnancy occurs, the mother's anxiety may increase in regard to the well-being of her developing baby. While early bleeding may indicate the presence of a serious problem, this is frequently not the case. In fact, approximately 20% of pregnant women experience light bleeding or spotting during the first trimester of pregnancy. Most go on to have uncomplicated pregnancies and ultimately deliver a healthy baby.

If bleeding occurs during the first trimester, a panty liner or pad should be worn so that the amount of bleeding can be estimated when you speak to your health-care professional. However, you should not insert a tampon into the vagina or douche.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/26/2016

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