Spotting Vs Period Differences
- Spotting refers to very light vaginal bleeding or brown discharge that occurs mid-cycle between menstrual periods.
- Menstrual periods are the monthly bleeding that occurs in women of reproductive age.
- Spotting may be due to a number of causes. You should call your doctor or other health care professional if you are pregnant and experience spotting or bleeding of any kind.
- Implantation bleeding in early pregnancy is a common cause of spotting and is not abnormal.
Can I Take Pain Relief Medication During Pregnancy
If you find that you need to take pain relief medication to relieve any pain, it is safest to use something simple such as paracetamol. Drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen should be avoided. If you find that you need a stronger pain relief medication, you must always check with your doctor, nurse or midwife first.
What To Do If You Are Not Sure If You Are Spotting Or Having Your Period
Talk to your doctor or other health care professional if you are not sure if it is your period, or if you are spotting.
Remember, spotting is light bleeding that does not get heavier like a typical menstrual period. The normal menstrual period usually is associated with some other symptoms like breast tenderness or cramps as described previously, and often is accompanied by the heavy flow. During the first day of your period bleeding may be light, but it typically becomes heavier over the next few days.
Light bleeding that does not worsen and is not associated with the symptoms of your period is likely to be spotting.
You should always contact your doctor or other health care professional if you experience any vaginal bleeding, spotting if you are pregnant or if you have reached menopause or any time you have unusual bleeding that concerns you.
Smell Sensitivity And Food Aversions During Early Pregnancy
Smell sensitivity is a symptom of early pregnancy thats mostly self-reported. Theres little scientific evidence about smell sensitivity during the first trimester. However, it might be important, since smell sensitivity may trigger nausea and vomiting. It may also cause strong distaste for certain foods.
You may experience either a heightened or lessened sense of smell during pregnancy, according to 2017 research. This is especially common during the first and third trimesters. Heightened smell is more common than lessened smell. Some smells that never bothered you before may become less pleasing or even trigger nausea.
The good news is that your sense of smell usually returns to normal after delivery, or within 6 to 12 weeks postpartum.
How Does Your Stomach Feel In Early Pregnancy
Feeling pain in your lower abdomen or feeling like your stomach is hard, swollen, or heavy are not early signs of pregnancy.
To the touch, a person’s stomach and abdomen will not show any noticeable signs of pregnancy until later on, depending on your specific body type. So, a self-examination of your stomach is not going to lead to anything conclusive. People who are in their first pregnancy usually don’t start showing until twenty weeks or later.1 Those who have already been pregnant might start showing sooner.
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When To Take A Pregnancy Test
Since its not easy to tell the difference between implantation or menstrual spotting, you should take a pregnancy test if there is a chance you could be pregnant.
Pregnancy tests measure the level of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin in your blood. This hormone is made by the placenta that nourishes the newly developing embryo.
A urine pregnancy test which can be done at home is 99 percent accurate, as long as the test is not expired and you take it after the first day of your missed period, according to Planned Parenthood.
Some highly sensitive urine tests can be used earlier, but know that you run the risk of a getting a negative result when you are, in fact, pregnant. If you do get a negative result, but youre still feeling symptoms that make you think youre pregnant, wait 7 days and retest.
A blood pregnancy test administered at a doctors office can detect pregnancy as soon as 11 days after conception.
Remember, though, that hCG isnt produced until after implantation, so testing for pregnancy at the first sign of implantation bleeding is likely to result in a negative result.
If youre wondering about bleeding after a missed period, chances are there is another cause.
Bleeding in the first trimester is common. In fact, research shows that a whopping 25 percent of women will bleed early in pregnancy. Still, any blood occurring during pregnancy is considered abnormal, and you should contact your doctor when it happens.
Other Causes Of Bleeding In Early Pregnancy
Light bleeding in early pregnancy is relatively common1, and while implantation bleeding is the most common cause, there are other causes. In pregnancy, the hormonal changes can cause the cervix to become thinner and more vascular. This may cause it to bleed more easily on trauma, such as just after penetrative sex, for example. This type of bleeding is very light, lasts less than a day, is harmless, and has no other associated symptoms.
Heavier bleeding during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can be due to miscarriage2, which is very common in early pregnancy compared with later on in pregnancy, and is normally not something that could have been prevented. Unfortunately, it can happen when there is a genetic or developmental abnormality in the growing foetus.3
In pregnancy, the hormonal changes can cause the cervix to become thinner and more vascular. This may cause it to bleed more easily on trauma, such as just after penetrative sex, for example.
Having a miscarriage does not necessarily mean unsuccessful pregnancies in the future. Other symptoms that may accompany bleeding in miscarriages include severe lower abdominal pain, vaginal discharge of fluid or tissue and the disappearance of pregnancy symptoms such as nausea or breast tenderness.
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What Should I Do If I Experience Bleeding During Pregnancy
If you experience bleeding, it is wise to have this checked out. If you have been seen in the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit during your pregnancy, you may contact us directly, up to 15 weeks + 6 days of pregnancy. Your GP or midwife can also help you.
If you have been seen in the EPAU and you then experience more bleeding contact the EPAU. Depending on how much bleeding and for how long the nursing staff will decide if you need to be seen again. A rescan is not always necessary. Sometimes the nurse will advise that you monitor this bleeding at home. A rescan will only be performed if bleeding heavy with clots. If there is a significant change in your symptoms then the nurse will make an appointment to come to EPAU and be either rescanned or to be assessed by the doctor. If bleeding unmanageable then the nurse may advise to be assessed on ward 30 or the Emergency department depending on your symptoms.
Extreme Dieting And Exercise Arent Your Periods Bff
Disordered eating, excessive exercise, and weight fluctuation can impact hormones and cause periods to change or disappear altogether. For example:
- According to the Mayo Clinic, if body weight drops 10 percent below normal , hormones stop ovulation and periods. You may have heard of this happening to women with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
- A 2014 study found that binge eating is also associated with menstrual dysfunction.
- Intense or excessive exercise either as part of eating disorder behavior or athletic training can also cause periods to diminish or disappear. According to the Office on Womens Health, this can happen to women who have not exercised much and suddenly start an intense exercise program.
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Changes In Bathroom And Stomach Habits
In addition to nausea and vomiting, you may experience other stomach problems when you first become pregnantlike constipation, frequent urination and bloating, to name a few.
Constipation is normally characterized by fewer than three bowel movements a week, hard stool, dry stool or stool that is difficult to pass. The progesterone that starts to form from the placenta slows the bowels down, says Brown. Constipation can occur early on in pregnancy, but can come back during the third trimester, too.
Frequent urination is common. Symptoms can start even earlier than your missed period, since the fertilized egg implants itself into the uterus and begins making the pregnancy hormone hCG, prompting you to run to the bathroom more often.
Bloating can happen early on in pregnancy, and may continue throughout your nine months. The progesterone hormone causes your muscle tissues to relax, slowing down digestion. That, in addition to an expanding uterus, can put pressure on your rectum and cause it to feel heavy.
Heres how to keep your stomach happy during pregnancy:
- Aim to get at least 25 grams of fiber a day from foods like leafy greens and whole grains.
- Stay hydrated.
- Talk to your OBGYN about any iron supplements youre taking.
- Discuss with your OBGYN whether you need to try over-the-counter medications.
- When you feel the urge, do not hold in bowel movements.
- Eat slowly.
- Take it easy on foods that may upset your stomach, like beans, cabbage and fried items.
The Difference Between Spotting And Light Bleeding
Mistaking spotting and light bleeding is quite common, so its essential to be aware of the key difference between them.
- Spotting is usually pink to brown in color and as the name suggests is a very small volume of blood.
- Bleeding is darker and redder in color, and enough to saturate a sanitary pad.
While spotting can be an indication of pregnancy, it can also signify that you normal period may be starting. There are numerous reasons that can lead to a light period.
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Signs Of Implantation Bleeding
It isnt easy to tell the difference between implantation bleeding and an early period. But here are some signs to clue you in to whats happening.
- Color. Implantation bleeding is more likely to be a pinky-brown color. Menstrual bleeding, on the other hand, may start off light pink or brown, but it soon changes into crimson red.
- Strength of flow. Implantation bleeding is usually super-light spotting. Your period may start off light, but the flow gets stronger.
- Cramping. Cramping that signals implantation is usually light and short-lived. Cramping that comes from your period is usually more intense and lasts longer. Every woman has her own pain threshold: You know your body best, so listen to it.
- Clotting. If you notice clots in the bleeding, you can be pretty sure that this is your period. Implantation bleeding will not produce this mix of blood and tissue.
- Length of flow. Implantation bleeding lasts 1 to 3 days while your period lasts 4 to 7 days.
- Consistency. Implantation bleeding is more like on-and-off spotting. Your period, however, starts off lightly and gets progressively heavier.
Should You Take A Pregnancy Test During Implantation Bleeding
You can take a home pregnancy test during implantation bleeding. Keep in mind that the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin that pregnancy tests detect only starts being produced in your body the moment the fertilised egg is implanted in the uterus.
This is also the trigger for implantation bleeding, so when you notice any spotting it might still be very early in your pregnancy.
The earlier you take the test, the less hCG there is to detect, meaning that the test may not yet be accurate. Some tests are more sensitive than others, and some claim to detect hCG as early as eight days after conception.
If you have the patience to wait, however, youâll get a more accurate test result if you leave it until at least until after the day your period would normally be due. If youâre not sure when that is, then for more accurate results try at least 21 days after you last had unprotected sex.
If you get a positive test result, get in touch with your GP or a midwife to confirm your pregnancy and start your antenatal care.
While youâre waiting for your first antenatal appointment, you can use our handy due date calculator to get an estimate of when your little one might arrive.
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My Stomach Feels Weirddoes Your Stomach Hurt In Early Pregnancy
It depends on what you mean by hurt.
In general, the kinds of pain youll experience in your belly or lower abdomen in early pregnancy are related to:
- Nausea usually happens between two and eight weeks after conception2
- Cramping these can feel similar to pre-menstrual cramps and can be a sign of implantation2
- Bloating and abdominal discomfort similar to PMS symptoms
Below I talk a little more about nausea, which is common in early pregnancy .
So in the sense of feeling nauseous, yes, your stomach can hurt. Some women also feel some light cramping at the very beginning of their pregnancy, which may or may not be accompanied by spotting . This usually occurs around the predicted time of the period or a couple of days before.
What Causes Spotting Or Light Bleeding During A Pregnancy
Women may also experience light bleeding or spotting during pregnancy, and this phenomenon can be caused by a number of things, including:
In short, a light period can be a sign of pregnancy, but it can also be an indicator of a health-related issue. See your doctor if you are concerned about your periods flow.
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Spotty With A Chance Of Cramps
We usually dont think of bleeding and babying as going hand in hand, but spotting, light bleeding, and cramping are some of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy and are perfectly normal.
When the fetus implants in your endometrium, or uterus lining, between week 1 and 4, it can trigger implantation bleeding.
Implantation most commonly takes place on days 10 to 14. The bleeding is usually light and lasts less than 3 days. About 75 percent of women dont experience any spotting or bleeding.
Some women experience intermittent mild cramping not associated with implantation bleeding. This type of cramping is due to your uterus expanding and can happen off and on during your first trimester.
What to know:
- Blood flow: Will be lighter than your regular period. You may need a panty liner but not a pad or tampon. Spotting is blood present only when wiping.
- Hue: Ranges from light pink to rust-colored.
- Discomfort: Cramping and back pain can be present. It may be mild, moderate, or severe. A 2010 study of 4,539 pregnant women found that less than one-third experienced pain with bleeding.
- Duration: Implantation bleeding is usually over in 3 days or less.
When to worry: Heavy bleeding or severe cramping after a pregnancy diagnosis could be a sign of trouble and warrants medical attention.
What Is Implantation Bleeding
After ovulation and at the moment an egg is successfully fertilized by a sperm in a fallopian tube, the embryo starts dividing and growing. At this time, the inner lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, starts to change. It’s already been thickening throughout the menstrual cycle, but itll need to grow and mature even more to protect and nourish an embryo.
Around five to six days after fertilization, the quickly growing embryo has moved down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. Its starting to need more nutrients, and the endometrium has filled in enough to support it.
Next, the embryo attaches itself to the endometrium, where it becomes reliant on a mothers body for the first time for nutrients and oxygen. When the embryo implants, it can disrupt tiny blood vessels in the spot it burrows into. This wont cause any problems but some women will experience light bleeding, from pinkish or red to brown discharge.
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What Type Of Scan Will I Have
A vaginal scan is the best method in early pregnancy as it gives us a more accurate result at an earlier stage in pregnancy than an abdominal scan. It may be a little uncomfortable but it is safe to be done, you do not need a full bladder when having a vaginal scan. If you have concerns about a vaginal scan, please let the nurse, midwife doctor know.
Other Causes Of Light Periods
Aside from pregnancy, there are a lot of other conditions or factors which can cause light periods. For example, stress and anxiety can cause your periods to be irregular, light, or you might even miss one altogether. Once the stressful event has passed the periods should return to normal. Other symptoms that indicate stress or anxiety that might occur at the same time as your light period include palpitations, breathlessness, sweating, or tremors.
Women with an over- or under-active thyroid can also have irregular periods, as thyroid hormones form an integral part of the chain reaction that causes your menstrual cycle.4 Other symptoms you may notice include weight changes, general lethargy or hyper-activity and appetite changes. If you suspect your light period may be related to thyroid issues go and seek advice from your GP.
Taking contraceptive pills or having hormonal intra-uterine devices can lead to light periods, especially when you first start using a new type of contraception, as the body is still getting used to the hormones. Normally, after the body has adjusted, the irregular bleeding may stop.
Taking contraceptive pills or having hormonal intra-uterine devices can lead to light periods, especially when you first start using a new type of contraception.
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