Spotting During Pregnancy: The 1st Trimester 36


I remember the first time I experienced spotting during pregnancy. My heart dropped and my mind automatically jumped to the conclusion I was miscarrying, but spotting during pregnancy is actually quite common. In fact, around 25 percent of women experience it during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.spotting during pregnancy

Note: If you are not sure if you are pregnant, and curious if what you are seeing is your period, implantation bleeding, or pregnancy spotting, you may find my post on what looks like a period while pregnant more helpful. This post is more aimed at spotting after a confirmed pregnancy in the first trimester. Bleeding during pregnancy in later trimesters is covered here.

Common causes of spotting during pregnancy:

Cervical changes: During pregnancy the cervix becomes soft and blood flow is increased. This can make your cervix more prone to minor damage. Things such as sex, dilation or position checks, PAP smears, and even excessive physical activity which may have triggered small contractions can cause spotting during pregnancy. You should always mention any bleeding to your care provider, but know that short term spotting is not often a cause for concern, especially if it was just once and after an activity that may have affected your cervix.

Progesterone dip: Around week 6 the placenta begins to take over production of progesterone. Sometimes during this time there a slight and temporary progesterone dip that can cause light bleeding.

Infection: Infections that may cause inflammation to the cervix or vaginal canal can also cause spotting during pregnancy. These may include common infections during pregnancy include yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis as well as sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Spotting accompanied by foul smelling discharge, itching, skin rashes or warts may be a good tip off this is what you’re dealing with, though not all infections present with symptoms.

Sub chronic hematoma: A sub chronic hematoma is a pocket of blood or blood clot within the uterine wall. This cause of spotting during pregnancy might sound a bit scary, but in most cases sub chronic hematomas are minor and resolve on their own. Bleeding from a hematoma may be as light as spotting or heavy with clots depending on severity. Ultrasound is often used to confirm and determine that severity.

Ectopic pregnancy: Sadly, there are a few causes of spotting during pregnancy that are bad news. Ectopic pregnancy, where the baby has implanted somewhere outside of the uterus such as the fallopian tube, is one of those causes. Ectopic pregnancy can cause long-term fertility issues and even be life threatening, so the earlier it is discovered the better. Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy in addition to spotting may include severe cramping, abdominal pain, light headedness and a pregnancy test that is positive, then negative.

Molar Pregnancy: Keeping up with those bad news causes of spotting during pregnancy, molar pregnancy occurs when tissue (a tumor) begins to grow within the uterine wall causing a positive pregnancy test. Molar pregnancies are rare and caused by chromosomal abnormalities within the fertilized egg. In addition to spotting, symptoms may include severe nausea or vomiting, high blood pressure, measuring large (rapid uterine growth), passing of cysts, and occasionally pelvic pain or pressure.

Miscarriage: Finally, spotting during pregnancy can indeed be caused by miscarriage, whether missed or impending. Keep in mind that in almost all cases, nothing was done to cause or can be done to prevent early miscarriage. The most common cause is chromosomal abnormality.

Bleeding anytime in pregnancy is always scary, and we here at Life with Gremlins sincerely hope our info on the subject helps ease your mind. If you have any questions or just need to vent, we welcome comments and concerns and do our best to respond within 24 to 48 hours.


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36 thoughts on “Spotting During Pregnancy: The 1st Trimester

  • Blessing

    Hi, am blessing. i do have the normal 28 days cycle. i visited my hubby on 22nd june,2017. we had sex which caused my period to shift to 26th june,2017 and stopped on 1st july, 2017. on the 6th of july i started feeling somehow as this is my first time. i told my hubby about it and he advice i follow up with a blood test which proved positive and i was told not to do any had job as it will alter the carriage of the baby. i felt virtually all the symptoms of early pregnancy not until on 30th july, 2017, exactly 28 days, i started noticing same quantity if flow as i use to see during my period. i went for another blood test which confirms positive but this time i was advice to take a scan. my ques is; 1. can blood test be wrong and can the age or the number of weeks of the pregnancy be ascertained through a blood test?
    2. or is it that the symptoms i saw was as a result of my mind set being that i wish to be pregnant since i saw my period on 26th june through 1st of july and 30th july and still counting…?
    3. will i be exposed to radiation in scan and is it adviceable since if am actually pregnant, it should be in its 5th week plus minus one week?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Blood tests can be used to estimate gestational age, yes, but only roughly as hCG levels vary. Ultrasounds are perfectly safe at all stages of pregnancy.