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.

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What is implantation bleeding during the first trimester?

A common benign cause of bleeding may occur even before a woman realizes that she is pregnant. Many women bleed when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. This is called implantation bleeding. It frequently occurs when the next menstrual period is expected.

What are the signs and symptoms of implantation bleeding?

Implantation bleeding consists of light bleeding or spotting around the time of the expected menstrual period. This does not happen in every pregnancy.

What are other common causes of bleeding during the first trimester?

  • Changes in the cervix: The normal hormone production during pregnancy can cause changes to the cervix, rendering it softer and more prone to bleeding. Also, a cervical polyp (a benign overgrowth of tissue) may form, and this may bleed more easily during pregnancy. In both cases, spotting or light bleeding may be provoked following sexual intercourse or a pelvic examination.
  • Infection: A vaginal infection may cause spontaneous vaginal bleeding. The bleeding may be accompanied by an abnormal vaginal discharge.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/26/2016

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