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    Vaginal Bleeding and Blood Clots During Pregnancy

    WebMD explains reasons for spotting -- some cause for alarm, others normal -- in each trimester of pregnancy.

    Pregnancy Guide

    Bleeding During Pregnancy

    By Stephanie Watson

    Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on June 12, 2020

    In this Article

    Bleeding in the First Trimester

    Bleeding in the Second and Third Trimesters

    What to Do If You Have Abnormal Bleeding During Pregnancy

    Bleeding during pregnancy is common, especially during the first trimester, and usually it's no cause for alarm. But because bleeding can sometimes be a sign of something serious, it's important to know the possible causes, and get checked out by your doctor to make sure you and your baby are healthy.

    Bleeding in the First Trimester

    About 20% of women have some bleeding during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Possible causes of first trimester bleeding include:

    Implantation bleeding. You may experience some normal spotting within the first six to 12 days after you conceive as the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus. Some women don't realize they are pregnant because they mistake this bleeding for a light period. Usually the bleeding is very light and lasts from a few hours to a few days. Miscarriage. Because miscarriage is most common during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, it tends to be one of the biggest concerns with first trimester bleeding. However, first trimester bleeding does not necessarily mean that you’ve lost the baby or going to miscarry. In fact, if a heartbeat is seen on ultrasound, over 90% of women who experience first trimester vaginal bleeding will not miscarry.

    Other symptoms of miscarriage are strong cramps in the lower abdomen and tissue passing through the vagina.

    Ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized embryo implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. If the embryo keeps growing, it can cause the fallopian tube to burst, which can be life-threatening to the mother. Although ectopic pregnancy is potentially dangerous, it only occurs in about 2% of pregnancies.

    Other symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are strong cramps or pain in the lower abdomen, and lightheadedness.

    Molar pregnancy (also called gestational trophoblastic disease). This is a very rare condition in which abnormal tissue grows inside the uterus instead of a baby. In rare cases, the tissue is cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body.

    Other symptoms of molar pregnancy are severe nausea and vomiting, and rapid enlargement of the uterus.

    Additional causes of bleeding in early pregnancy include:

    Cervical changes. During pregnancy, extra blood flows to the cervix. Intercourse or a Pap test, which cause contact with the cervix, can trigger bleeding. This type of bleeding isn't cause for concern.Infection. Any infection of the cervix, vagina, or a sexually transmitted infection (such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or herpes) can cause bleeding in the first trimester.

    Bleeding in the Second and Third Trimesters

    Abnormal bleeding in late pregnancy may be more serious because it can signal a problem with the mother or baby. Call your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any bleeding in your second or third trimester.

    Possible causes of bleeding in late pregnancy include:

    Placenta previa. This condition occurs when the placenta sits low in the uterus and partially or completely covers the opening of the birth canal. Placenta previa is very rare in the late third trimester, occurring in only one in 200 pregnancies. A bleeding placenta previa, which can be painless, is an emergency requiring immediate medical attention.Placental abruption. In about 1% of pregnancies, the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus before or during labor and blood pools between the placenta and uterus. Placental abruption can be very dangerous to both the mother and baby.

    Other signs and symptoms of placental abruption are abdominal pain, clots from the vagina, tender uterus, and back pain.

    Uterine rupture. In rare cases, a scar from a previous C-section can tear open during pregnancy. Uterine rupture can be life-threatening, and requires an emergency C-section.

    Other symptoms of uterine rupture are pain and tenderness in the abdomen.

    Vasa previa. In this very rare condition, the developing baby's blood vessels in the umbilical cord or placenta cross the opening to the birth canal. Vasa previa can be very dangerous to the baby because the blood vessels can tear open, causing the baby to bleed severely and lose oxygen.

    Other signs of vasa previa include abnormal fetal heart rate and excessive bleeding.

    Premature labor. Vaginal bleeding late in pregnancy may just be a sign that your body is getting ready to deliver. A few days or weeks before labor begins, the mucus plug that covers the opening of the uterus will pass out of the vagina, and it will usually have small amounts of blood in it (this is known as "bloody show"). If bleeding and symptoms of labor begin before the 37th week of pregnancy, contact your doctor right away because you might be in preterm labor.

    Other symptoms of preterm labor include contractions, vaginal discharge, abdominal pressure, and ache in the lower back.

    Additional causes of bleeding in late pregnancy are:

    Injury to the cervix or vagina

    Polyps Cancer

    What to Do If You Have Abnormal Bleeding During Pregnancy

    Because vaginal bleeding in any trimester can be a sign of a problem, call your doctor. Wear a pad so that you can keep track of how much you're bleeding, and record the type of blood (for example, pink, brown, or red; smooth or full of clots). Bring any tissue that passes through the vagina to your doctor for testing. Don't use a tampon or have sex while you are still bleeding.

    Source : www.webmd.com

    How Long Does Spotting Last? Implantation, Pregnancy, and More

    Bleeding outside your period can be really alarming, but most of the time it’s nothing to worry about. There are several reasons why a woman might experience spotting. Spotting can be an early symptom of pregnancy, a side effect of birth control, or a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

    How Long Does Spotting Last?

    Medically reviewed by Holly Ernst, PA-C — Written by Jacquelyn Cafasso — Updated on July 11, 2019


    Spotting is the term used for very light vaginal bleeding that isn’t your regular menstrual period. It’s often described as just a few drops of blood that isn’t heavy enough for you to need a pad, tampon, or menstrual cup.

    Bleeding outside your period can be really alarming, but most of the time it’s nothing to worry about. There are several reasons why a woman might experience spotting. Spotting can be an early symptom of pregnancy, a side effect of birth control, or a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

    The amount of time the spotting lasts depends on the cause.

    How long does implantation spotting last?

    Between 10 and 14 days after you conceive, the fertilized egg — now called a blastocyst — implants itself into the lining of the uterus. The implantation can irritate and move the lining, which can cause spotting. This is usually referred to as implantation bleeding. Only about a third of pregnant women experience implantation bleeding after they get pregnant, but it’s considered a normal symptom of pregnancy.

    In most cases, implantation spotting only lasts from a few hours to a couple days, but some women report having implantation spotting for up to seven days.

    You may experience some light cramping and soreness during implantation. For this reason, women often mistake implantation spotting for their regular period. However, implantation spotting typically won’t last as long as a normal period. Bleeding from implantation also doesn’t get heavier like a regular period.

    Implantation spotting will stop on its own and doesn’t require treatment. You’ll likely develop other early pregnancy symptoms, likely nausea, sore breasts, and fatigue, shortly after implantation.

    How long does spotting last during pregnancy?

    About half of all pregnant women experience a small amount of bleeding during pregnancy. While spotting can occur at any stage of pregnancy, it occurs most often in the first trimester (weeks 1 through 12).

    Early pregnancy spotting

    Spotting during early pregnancy usually isn’t serious. Most women who experience light bleeding during pregnancy go on to deliver healthy babies.

    However, spotting could also be a sign of a miscarriage. Miscarriages occur in roughly 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies. If this is the case, the spotting may get heavier and you may also pass fluid and tissue from the vagina. The bleeding may last just a few hours, or up to two weeks.

    Sometimes during a miscarriage, the embryo is absorbed into your body. In this case, you may not have a lot of bleeding at all. Following a miscarriage, you should start having regular periods again in three to six weeks.

    Spotting during the first trimester could also be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants itself in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus. Bleeding can occur if the fallopian tube ruptures. Ectopic pregnancies are dangerous and must be removed with medication or surgery.

    Late pregnancy spotting

    In the second or third trimester, spotting could indicate a problem with the cervix or placenta, such as an incompetent cervix, infection, or a placental abruption.

    You may also experience some light spotting if you have sex while you’re pregnant. Spotting after sex typically only lasts a few hours.

    Right before giving birth, you might also have some light spotting, often mixed with mucous. This could be a sign that labor is starting.

    How long does spotting last during ovulation?

    A small percentage of women have light spotting every month at the same time they ovulate. Ovulation is when a woman’s ovary releases a mature egg. It occurs roughly 11 to 21 days after the first day of your last period. Ovulation spotting usually only lasts a day or two at the same time as ovulation.

    As a reminder, any type of hormonal birth control (like the pill, implants, or injections) prevents normal ovulation symptoms. You shouldn’t be experiencing ovulation spotting if you’re on any of these methods of birth control.


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    How long does spotting caused by birth control last?

    Some forms of birth control (contraception) increase the likelihood of experiencing spotting. This is also known as breakthrough bleeding.

    Some women experience spotting on and off for the first couple months after getting an IUD, implant, contraceptive shot, or after beginning birth control pills. The spotting will most likely stop after the first two or three months after starting on birth control. If it continues for longer than that, see your doctor.

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    How long does spotting caused by sex last?

    Spotting after sex, also known as postcoital bleeding, is fairly uncommon and usually not serious.

    Spotting after sex can be caused by vaginal dryness, infections, vaginal tearing, rough sex, uterine fibroids, or cervical polyps. While not as common, spotting after sex could also be a symptom of cervical cancer.

    Source : www.healthline.com

    How Much Bleeding Is Normal In Early Pregnancy?

    Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy isn’t common. However, it can happen for different reasons. Tap here for more information and to learn more.

    Bleeding During Pregnancy – What‘s Normal?

    Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy isn’t common. However, it can happen for different reasons. It can be the result of something serious or non-serious. Light spotting (bleeding) is normal in early pregnancy. This is when the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus. Continued bleeding throughout the pregnancy, is different, though. Call your doctor immediately if you are bleeding heavily. Go to the emergency room if you have severe pain.


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    Vaginal bleeding can happen at any stage of a pregnancy, from conception to delivery. With spotting, you may see just a few drops of blood in your underwear. Heavy bleeding is more noticeable. It will require a sanitary pad to protect your clothing.

    Call your doctor whenever you experience bleeding of any kind. Call your doctor if you have vaginal bleeding or spotting. This is important even if an ultrasound test confirms your pregnancy is normal. An ultrasound is where a technician moves a wand around your stomach to see an image of the baby.

    Non-serious reasons for bleeding early in your pregnancy can include:

    implantation (as the egg settles in your uterus the first 6-12 days)

    sex infection hormones.

    More serious causes of vaginal bleeding during the early part of pregnancy can include:

    An ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that starts outside the uterus and will not survive).

    A miscarriage (losing the baby early in a pregnancy).

    A molar pregnancy (a fertilized egg that implants in the uterus that does not live).

    In later pregnancy, the following medical conditions can cause vaginal bleeding:

    Placental abruption (the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus during birth).

    Placenta previa (the placenta is lying too low in the uterus and nearly covers the cervix).

    Placenta accreta (when the placenta invades and doesn’t separate from the uterine wall).

    Preterm labor (labor that starts before completing 37 of 40 weeks of pregnancy).

    Bleeding may be just one sign of preterm labor. It also can include vaginal discharge, pressure in your pelvis or abdomen (lower stomach), a dull backache, cramps, contractions, and your water breaking.

    If you are bleeding early in your pregnancy, your doctor will want to know how long and how much. If you have cramps and pain early in the pregnancy, he or she will order tests. This will include an ultrasound, blood, and urine tests.

    If continued bleeding is not serious, your doctor may treat it by recommending that you rest, relax, stay off your feet, and not have sex. Keep your body healthy. Take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid daily while pregnant. Take it earlier if you plan to get pregnant. Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking illegal drugs. Talk to your doctor before taking prescription medicine. Also, when you are pregnant, you should never douche (use vaginal cleansing products) or use tampons. Serious bleeding may need to be treated with a long-term bed rest, hospitalization, or surgery.

    You cannot prevent a miscarriage after it has started. The exact cause is usually unknown. It’s rarely something the mother did wrong. Most women can have healthy pregnancies in the future. If you have lost more than 3 pregnancies, talk to your doctor.


    Things to consider

    If you experience bleeding or spotting at any time during your pregnancy, your doctor will want to collect as much information as possible. That will include:

    How far along is your pregnancy?

    Have you had bleeding at any other time during your pregnancy?

    When did the bleeding start?

    Is the bleeding heavy or spotting?

    Does it start and stop?

    How much blood is there?

    What color is the blood (bright red or dark brown)?

    Does the blood have an odor?

    Do you have cramps or pain?

    Do you feel weak, tired, faint, or dizzy?

    Have you experienced vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea?

    Do you have a fever?

    Were you recently injured (such as a fall or car accident)?

    Have you engaged in any physical activity?

    Are you under extra stress?

    When did you last have sex? Did you bleed afterward?

    Do you have a bleeding disorder? Women with bleeding disorders are at risk of complications during and after pregnancy. This includes iron-deficiency anemia, bleeding during pregnancy, and serious bleeding after delivery (postpartum hemorrhage). Talk to your doctor before getting pregnant if you have a bleeding disorder. Also, bleeding disorders are genetic.

    What is your blood type? If your blood type is Rh negative, you will need treatment with a medicine called Rho(D) immune globulin. This prevents complications with future pregnancies.

    Vaginal bleeding is usually blood without clots or tissue. If you see something other than blood, call your doctor immediately. Try to collect the discharge in a container and bring it with you when you see your doctor. It may mean you have miscarried. If that is the case, your doctor will provide additional care. If not all the tissue from the miscarriage has passed, your doctor may need to perform a procedure. This procedure is called a dilation and curettage (D and C). It involves opening (dilating) the cervix. Your doctor will gently suction out the remaining tissue from the miscarriage.

    Source : familydoctor.org

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