Why You May Bleed During Pregnancy
First Half of PregnancySpotting during this time is common, especially after sex, a pelvic exam, or a transvaginal ultrasound. In these cases, the blood might be coming from the cervix. It becomes tender during pregnancy and could be a bit inflamed or irritated. This type of bleeding can also occur prior to a miscarriage or with an ectopic pregnancy, but most often it is not a cause for concern.
Heavier bleeding during the first trimester can also be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. This bleeding doesnt mean a miscarriage will occur, or that you have an ectopic pregnancy. About half of pregnant women who have bleeding do not miscarry. The most important thing you can do is to let you doctor know about any bleeding, so that you can evaluated for the cause.
Second Half of PregnancyDuring the late second and entire third trimester, causes of bleeding can include:
Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle
For starters, it helps understand your menstrual cycle. “A period is defined as the blood loss that happens at the end of an ovulatory cycle, as the result of an egg not being fertilized by a sperm,” explains Michele Hakakha, M.D., a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist based in Los Angeles and co-author of Expecting 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy.
“Every month, a woman releases an egg on approximately day 14 of her cycle,” says Dr. Hakakhathough ovulation date varies for everyone, and it’s also possible to have irregular cycles. “Prior to the release of the egg, the hormones in a woman’s body increase to prepare the lining of the uterus in case the egg is fertilized and a pregnancy occurs. If there is no fertilization, the lining of the uterus is sloughed off about 14 days later. This is called your period.” Most people have periods that last from two days to eight days and take place every 26 to 34 days.
Ovulation typically occurs midway through the cycle, and it’s the most fertile time in your menstrual cyclemeaning when you’re most likely to conceive. Because sperm can survive for several days in the reproductive tract, a woman can get pregnant by having sex during ovulation or the days leading up to it.
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 . 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.
Your doctor might recommend that you rest as much as you can and avoid exercise and travel.
You should expect to receive an ultrasound to identify what the underlying cause of your bleeding may be. Vaginal and abdominal ultrasounds are often performed together as part of a full evaluation.
Go to the emergency room or call 911 right away if you have any of the following symptoms, which could be signs of a miscarriage or other serious problem:
- Severe pain or intense cramps low in the abdomen
- Severe bleeding, with or without pain
- Discharge from the vagina that contains tissue
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Can I Use My Menstrual Cycle To Predict My Due Date
Yes. You can work out how far along your pregnancy is by counting from the first day of your last period.
This can be confusing because you probably didnt get pregnant until around 2 weeks later, after you ovulated. Even if do you know the date you got pregnant, this is counted as day 14 of your pregnancy , not day 1.
Your pregnancy is calculated from your last menstrual period because every time you have a period this is the bodys way of getting ready for pregnancy. It also gives healthcare professionals a standard to follow because its very difficult to know exactly when the sperm fertilised the egg.
If your period is irregular or if youve recently been on the pill it will be harder to try and work out your due date.
The most accurate way to work out your due date is to have an ultrasound scan when youre around 11 to 14 weeks pregnant. This is used to see how for along you are and check your babys development.
Ovulation And Fertility: How Do I Know
Because periods can be different lengths and not all bleeding is a period, it can be confusing to track your ovulation. The best way to track your ovulatory cycle is by watching it for three to four months, Harper said. To track, Harper recommends determining the average time between the start of one period to the start of the next. Because this is an average number, it does not have to be exactly the same every month. If this average number is between 21 and 35 days, then you can divide that number in half, which is MOST LIKELY, but not guaranteed, to be the time of ovulation.
Once you have monitored a few cycles and think you know when you are ovulating, check on your vaginal discharge. Around the time of ovulation, discharge becomes thick and stretchyjust like an uncooked egg white, Harper mentioned. This is the best way to verify that you are on track when it comes to predicting ovulation. If you take a birth control pill, then you do not ovulate at all and do not need to pay attention to discharge.
Cervical mucus accepts, filters, prepares and releases sperm for the successful fertilization of an egg. If you do not want to become pregnant and are not using another birth control, Harper says it is best to avoid intercourse the week you notice the mucus.
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Implantation Bleeding Could Be Mistaken For A Light Period
Many women also mistake implantation bleeding for a period while pregnant. Following the same example above, if you often have a light period, and had spotting on day 23, you might mistake that spotting as your period a day or two early.
Bleeding varies from woman to woman, but a heavy flow is almost never implantation bleeding. You can read a full article or try our quiz on telling the difference between implantation and your period here.
Signs And Symptoms Of Ovulation
Its possible that you can get pregnant outside of the fertility window, or the days of your cycle when you are most likely to get pregnant. The best way to know when this period will occur is by tracking your menstrual cycle.
Tracking your cycle
To calculate your cycle, track it for three to four months to determine the average length. Count the days from the start of one period to the start of the next. Again, the average is around 28 days, but this varies. If your average cycle is between 21 and 35 days, you can split this number in half to determine when your fertility window will most likely occur.
Another way to know if you are ovulating is to monitor your vaginal discharge. During your most fertile days, your vaginal discharge becomes stretchy and thick. Experts compare it to an uncooked egg white.
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Other Causes Of Bleeding During Pregnancy
Obviously, there are many reasons why a woman does not experience menstruation during pregnancy. However, Kristeen Cherney, Ph.D. of Healthline says there are other reasons why a woman may experience bleeding throughout her pregnancy.
Nearly 1 in 4 women experience some sort of spotting or bleeding during early pregnancy. This is most often caused by implantation bleeding or changes to the cervix. However, they can also be signs of an infection, ectopic pregnancy, or even an early miscarriage. During the second or third trimester, spotting or bleeding can still be an indication of miscarriage or something else entirely. Later in pregnancy, bleeding is more likely a sign of preterm labor, cervical dilation, placenta previa, or placental abruption.
While not all of these conditions are cause for alarm, it’s not always easy to know when it’s an emergency or when it’s just a part of a healthy pregnancy. For this reason, a woman who experiences bleeding at any point during pregnancy should always consult with an OBGYN or other medical professional before making any assumptions about her body.
Despite what some may tell you, it’s not possible to get your period still if you’re pregnant. However, there are several other conditions that can cause spotting or bleeding during pregnancy. If you experience any type of bleeding or spotting that seems abnormal, always consult with your OBGYN or doctor.
Speaking To Your Doctor Or Midwife
If you have any bleeding during pregnancy, or any of the other symptoms mentioned here, you should contact your doctor or midwife straight away.
They will ask you about other symptoms, such as pain or light-headedness, and you may have an examination this could be a physical check, an ultrasound or a blood test. In some cases, they may advise a stay in hospital to keep an eye on you and your baby.
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How Much Bleeding Is Normal During Pregnancy
Vaginal bleeding during the first three months of pregnancy is relatively common and usually is a cause of concern for the mother. Women wonder how much bleeding during early pregnancy is normal. While early bleeding may indicate the presence of a serious problem, this is frequently not the case. In fact, approximately 20% of pregnant women experience light bleeding or spotting during the first trimester of pregnancy. Most women go on to have uncomplicated pregnancies and ultimately deliver a healthy baby.
Spotting: Spotting usually refers to a few drops of blood that would not cover a pad or panty liner. Bleeding refers to blood flow that is heavy enough to require wearing a pad. If bleeding occurs during the first trimester, wear a panty liner or pad so that you are able to get an idea of the amount of bleeding that is occurring and can tell the health care professional. However, you should not use a tampon in the vagina or douche during pregnancy.
If You Get Your Period Does That Mean Youre Not Pregnant
If you thought you were pregnant and you got your normal, heavy period are you safe to say you arent pregnant for sure?
Getting your normal, heavy period is a really strong sign that youre not pregnant. Its actually impossible to get a period while pregnant. You can always take a pregnancy test if itll help ease your mind.
Unprotected vaginal sex can lead to both pregnancy and STDs. If you want to avoid pregnancy while having sex, your best bet is to use birth control, like the IUD, shot, and pill . Its also a good idea to use condoms too, since they can help prevent STDs along with some bonus pregnancy prevention powers.
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Effectiveness Of The Lactational Amenorrhea Method
Continuous breastfeeding is up to 98% effective as a natural contraceptive for up to six months after childbirth and if your period has not returned.
- Typical use: 95% effective
- Perfect use: 98% effective
This means that of every 100 women who use LAM, 5 will become pregnant within the first 6 months and less than 2 will become pregnant with perfect use.
- Effectiveness rates only apply to women who are exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months after giving birth.
How Does Conception Occur
The ability to conceive is miraculous. It requires the meeting of a males sperm with a females egg. Once a womans ovary releases an egg, the egg lives for only between 12 and 24 hours. The male sperm can live for about three days.
The typical female cycle is 28 days. Day 1 is when she starts her period. A woman typically ovulates around day 14 .
Ovulation is when a womans ovary releases an egg for fertilization. If a sperm is available in the uterus, pregnancy can occur.
Ovulation can vary based on a womans cycle. Some women have a longer cycle of around 35 days between periods. Ovulation would then happen around day 21. Women with a shorter cycle of 21 days ovulate around day 7.
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What Are The Chances I Can Get Pregnant On My Period
The chances of getting pregnant if you have sex during your period are very low. However, if youve had unprotected sex, it is still possible to get pregnant during your period.
To understand how this can happen, you need to know how your menstrual cycle works.
- Your cycle starts on the first day of your period and lasts until the first day of your next period.
- About 10 to 16 days before the start of your next period, you will ovulate, which is when one of your ovaries releases an egg.
- Once youve ovulated, you enter the Luteal phase, when the now empty follicle develops the corpus luteum, which produces the hormone progesterone.
- The lining on your uterus thickens in preparation for a fertilized egg to implant.
- If you have not conceived, then the egg passes into the uterus, hormone levels drop, and the womb lining sheds as you begin your next period.
You are at your most fertile around the time you ovulate. Although the egg lives only for 12 to 24 hours after being released, you can get pregnant even if you have sex days before you ovulate as sperm can live up to five days in your body.
So how likely are you to get pregnant during your period? Well, it depends on a few factors like:
- whether you used contraception or not
- the length of your menstrual cycle
- the length of your period
- when you had sex
You can also conceive after having sex during your period if you have short menstrual cycles, as this means you ovulate a few days earlier, and closer to the end of your period.
Fertility Awareness As A Method Of Birth Control
All birth control methods can fail, even those with the highest effectiveness rate like intrauterine devices or tubal ligation. People should understand how well each option works prior to deciding upon a method of contraception.
When using fertility awareness as a method of birth control, fewer than five out of 100 women will become pregnant during the first year of perfect use. That being said, this method of birth control is very difficult to do without error.
When tracking your cycle, the first day should be when you begin bleeding. For most women, ovulationthe release of the egg from the ovariesoccurs around day 14. Some women may bleed for up to 10 days. Therefore, they may become fertile only four days after their period ends, Harper said. Some women even have earlier ovulations and some have later ovulations.
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