Vaginal Bleeding (Pregnant Less Than 20 Weeks)

Is this your symptom?

  • Vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy
  • Less than 20 weeks pregnant

Causes

Vaginal bleeding is common in early pregnancy. About 2 to 4 out of every 10 women have some vaginal bleeding during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Sometimes vaginal bleeding or spotting in early pregnancy is not serious. It can be caused by:

  • A pelvic exam
  • Having sex
  • Hormone changes of pregnancy
  • Implanting of the fertilized egg in the womb (uterus)
  • Minor infection (cervicitis, vaginitis)

Sometimes it turns out that the bleeding is coming from somewhere other than the vagina:

  • Cystitis (urine infection)
  • Hemorrhoids

However, there are more serious causes of vaginal bleeding or spotting early pregnancy. These include:

  • Miscarriage
  • Molar pregnancy
  • Tubal pregnancy (ectopic pregnancy)

Vaginal Bleeding Severity is defined as:

  • Spotting: few drops of blood or pinkish / brownish mucous discharge
  • Mild: less than 1 pad / hour; less than a normal period
  • Moderate: 1-2 pads / hour; small blood clots (such as a pea, grape, small coin)
  • Severe: soaking 2 or more pads/hour for 2 or more hours; large blood clots (such as a golf ball, large coin); non-stop red blood from vagina

When to Call for Vaginal Bleeding (Pregnant Less Than 20 Weeks)

Call 911 Now

  • Passed out (fainted)
  • Very weak (can't stand)
  • You think you have a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Moderate vaginal bleeding (soaking 1 pad or tampon per hour)
  • Passed tissue (gray-white)
  • Shoulder pain
  • Fever over 100.4° F (38.0° C)
  • Pale skin (pallor) of new onset or worsening
  • You feel weak or very sick
  • You think you need to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Mild vaginal bleeding (small clots)
  • Stomach pains come and go (cramps), and last more than 24 hours
  • Pain or burning with passing urine
  • You have an IUD
  • You have had a tubal pregnancy before
  • You have had tubal surgery before
  • You think you need to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Not feeling pregnant any more (such as breast tenderness or nausea has gone away)
  • Spotting lasts more than 2 days
  • Yellow, green, or gray vaginal discharge
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Slight spotting (happens only once or lasts less than 2 days)
  • Slight spotting after sex (happens only once or lasts less than 2 days)
  • Slight spotting after a pelvic exam (happens only once or lasts less than 2 days)

Care Advice for Spotting

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Vaginal bleeding or spotting is common in early pregnancy. About 2 to 4 out of every 10 women have some vaginal bleeding during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
    • It is not always serious. Spotting can be caused by a pelvic exam, having sex, and hormone changes.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Discuss the Spotting with Your Doctor (or Midwife) at the Next Prenatal Visit. For now:
    • Do NOT douche.
    • Do NOT use a tampon. Use a sanitary pad instead.
    • Do NOT have sex for 1 week.
    • Avoid heavy lifting or hard physical work.
  3. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Spotting lasts for more than 2 days
    • Bleeding gets worse
    • Severe stomach pain occurs
    • Stomach pain is constant and lasts more than 2 hours
    • Stomach pains come and go, and last more than 24 hours
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Last Reviewed: 12/14/2017 1:32:41 AM
Last Updated: 5/17/2017 5:42:47 PM

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