Skip to main content

Bleeding During Pregnancy: What's Normal and What's Not?

Bleeding During Pregnancy: What's Normal and What's Not?

Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy can be scary for an expectant mother, especially a first-time mom who may not know if bleeding is normal or not. Generally speaking, vaginal bleeding during pregnancy isn’t normal. That being said, bleeding doesn’t always indicate a serious problem. 

Because it’s hard to tell why you’re bleeding without a thorough exam, vaginal bleeding always warrants a call to our team here at OBGYN Westside PLLC on the Upper West Side of New York City. 

In many cases, bleeding isn’t serious, but it’s better to confirm the cause of your bleeding, and if it is serious, our team 一 experts at managing high-risk pregnancies 一 gets you the treatment you need. 

So how do you know what’s normal and what’s not? Read on as our team discusses bleeding during pregnancy in more detail. 

What’s normal?

There are a few circumstances in which bleeding can occur. These include:

Implantation bleeding

Implantation bleeding happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of your uterus. This usually happens 6-12 days after conception, and the bleeding is often mild. Some women describe implantation bleeding as a light period or even spotting. 

Cervical irritation

When you’re pregnant, the blood flow to your cervix increases, and it’s more sensitive to irritation. Sexual intercourse or even a Pap smear can cause light bleeding. This type of bleeding is light, mild, and often dissipates quickly. 

Some women may be placed on pelvic rest for this reason.

Bloody show

Bloody show is blood-tinged mucus that often signals impending labor. As your cervix thins out in preparation for labor, you may see pink, brown, or red-tinged mucus. This is part of your mucus plug, and you may see some or all of it. All of these variations are normal. 

What’s not normal?

Any bleeding in your first trimester that’s accompanied by severe pain and cramping is serious. This can be a sign of miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, or a molar pregnancy. 

Bleeding in your first trimester can also happen as the result of an infection. Vaginal infections, including some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), can cause bleeding, odor, increased discharge, and pain. 

Treating an STD promptly can help you avoid the complications of an untreated STD, and it can also help prevent spreading the infection to your baby during childbirth. 

However, bleeding (with or without contractions) in your second or third trimester is even more serious. Bleeding in your second or third trimester can be a sign of preterm labor or issues with the placenta. 

What to do if you have vaginal bleeding during pregnancy

First and more importantly, take a deep breath. We know bleeding can be scary, but remember that bleeding doesn’t necessarily always mean the health or viability of your pregnancy is compromised. Call us immediately if you experience bleeding so we can take the best care of your particular situation.

If you notice vaginal bleeding:

Call us immediately if:

Bleeding may be a sign of a complication that, if left untreated, can be serious. If you experience any bleeding during your pregnancy, know that our compassionate team of board-certified obstetricians and gynecologists is here to provide the guidance and support you need. 

If it is after hours or the weekend, you can still call us through our office number 212-580-3866. You will get the answering service and one of our doctors will call you back right away. For less urgent matters, you can also book appointments online anytime.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Myths and Facts About the Fourth Trimester

Your fourth trimester — the time gap that spans from your baby’s birth to the first 12 weeks after delivery — is a time for healing and bonding. But there are a lot of misconceptions about this time. Read on and debunk seven common myths.
My Pap Smear Results Were Abnormal — Now What?

My Pap Smear Results Were Abnormal — Now What?

Pap smears are a type of cervical cancer screening that looks for any precancerous changes in your cells. If you receive an abnormal result, you may wonder what that means and what you should do next. Read on to find out.
Ask These Questions at Your First Prenatal Appointment

Ask These Questions at Your First Prenatal Appointment

Getting ready for your first prenatal appointment? Many moms-to-be are excited for this appointment as it officially kicks off your pregnancy journey. Continue reading as we share eight questions to consider asking at your first prenatal appointment. 

Tips for Thriving Through Your Third Trimester

As you enter your third trimester of pregnancy, the anticipation of meeting your little one may be accompanied by a mix of excitement and physical challenges. Continue reading to learn our top tips for thriving through your third trimester.

6 Medical Causes of Spotting Between Periods

Spotting between periods is common and can happen to most women once in a blue moon. However, should irregular bleeding continue for more than 2 to 3 cycles, we recommend scheduling an exam. Read on to learn more.