During early pregnancy, spotting can either be normal or could be the result of some severe problems that can even result in a miscarriage. Take a look at some of the common causes for spotting and bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Spotting and bleeding during pregnancy can be an unsettling experience for all women quite early on in their pregnancy. An estimated 25% of all women experience spotting sometime during pregnancy, with the majority of the cases reporting an early vaginal bleeding, usually in the first trimester.
Spotting during early pregnancy is generally defined as light bleeding, very similar to what is seen at the beginning or at the end of your periods. It is usually accompanied by pink, red, or brown-colored blood which is faint in color. While in some cases this might be considered normal, any vaginal bleeding or spotting that occurs before 20 weeks of gestation is defined as an abortion or miscarriage. It is, therefore, important to know the causes behind spotting and to define the source of the bleeding.
Difference between Spotting and Bleeding
Although it is sometimes used interchangeably, spotting is different from bleeding. While spotting refers to very light bleeding which is usually brown or pink in color, bleeding is what you would observe during your monthly menstruation. However, if the spotting is accompanied by bright red blood, fevers, chills, or cramping, then you should contact your health care provider as soon as possible.
Causes of Spotting in Early Pregnancy
Implantation Bleeding: Occurring as the result of the egg burrowing itself into the line of the uterus, implantation bleeding may result in brown spotting early in pregnancy. This light spotting occurs for two to three days after the fertilized egg burrows into the wall of your uterus.
Miscarriage: With nearly twenty to thirty percent pregnancies ending in a miscarriage, it is not uncommon to notice light spotting or bleeding. This is usually accompanied by cramping and abdominal pain. It has been found that nearly a quarter of women experience spotting and half of them miscarry.
Molar Pregnancy: Although it is quite rare, but molar pregnancy, also called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), is the growth of abnormal tissue instead of an embryo. This leads to spotting and bleeding.
Infections: Certain vaginal infections such as a yeast infection or a bacterial vaginosis can result in spotting. There are some sexually transmitted diseases like trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or herpes in pregnancy, which result in the inflammation or irritation of the cervix and spotting. This usually happens just after a Pap smear or sexual intercourse. Also, a cervical polyp or a benign growth may tend to spot after having sex or a Pap smear.
Ectopic Pregnancy: Ectopic pregnancy is caused when the fertilized egg attaches to someplace outside the uterus. In a condition, where it attaches itself to the fallopian tube the ectopic pregnancy is also referred to as tubal pregnancy. This may cause vaginal bleeding and spotting accompanied by sharp pain in the abdomen and dizziness.
Placental Problems: In the first trimester, spotting may also be a sign of placental problems. It is usually an indication of later complications such as preterm delivery or placental abruption.
Other causes: There are times when the reasons for spotting are difficult to ascertain. However, it is advisable to abstain from lifting heavy objects and exercising and to stay off your feet to prevent spotting in the first trimester.
While spotting can result in panic, it is best for a pregnant woman to be calm and consult a doctor as soon as possible.