In spite of all the claims put out there, it is not possible to have a period while you’re pregnant, light or heavy. It may be possible to experience spotting during early pregnancy, which could be light pink or dark brown in color, but nothing really serious.
Per the American Pregnancy Association, if you’re bleeding to the point where you fill pads and tampons, then this may be a good indication that you’re probably not pregnant.”
Difference Between Period and Pregnancy
A period is a monthly event which occurs in place of a fertilized egg. Eggs are usually released once a month and if they aren’t fertilized, they exit out of the uterus and shed through the vagina.
During a “normal” period, bleeding starts out light and then gets heavier, resulting in darker red colored blood. Then at the end of a menstrual cycle, the bleeding becomes lighter in both color and quantity.
There is a clear and simple difference between being pregnant and menstruation – As soon as you become pregnant, you don’t get any periods. However, there have been some women who claim that they have experienced periods during their pregnancy. Some of these conspiracies are fueled from places such as online blogs, social media, as well as television shows like “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.”
What Happens If I Start Bleeding After I Have a Positive Pregnancy Test?
You have to understand that bleeding itself isn’t necessarily a bad sign. In fact, many women experience spotting during their first trimester go on to have healthy babies afterward. And if you’re bleeding during pregnancy, then it is something other than regular menstruation.
Besides, periods only occur when you’re not pregnant. That’s why it is important for you to learn the different types of bleeding during pregnancy before you get in touch with your OB-GYN.
What Causes Bleeding During The First Trimester?
Around 25-30% of women experience bleeding or spotting in early pregnancy. This can be caused by a number of various factors such as:
- Changes in the cervix
- Implantation bleeding
- Ectopic pregnancy (Pregnancy that happens outside the uterus)
- Molar pregnancy (non-viable fertilized egg gets attached to the uterus)
- Early signs of miscarriage
Implantation bleeding (also known as breakthrough bleeding) usually happens during the first stages of pregnancy. During this phase, you may not have likely gotten a pregnancy test just yet.
Implantation bleeding takes place when the fertilized egg attached itself to the uterus, which is around the time when your period usually occurs. This type of bleeding is at times mistaken by pregnant women as a period, but it is actually spotting or light bleeding.
A little while after pregnancy, you will notice spotting caused by cervical changes. Although this isn’t a cause for concern unless there’s an infection.
You can learn more about this here: Everything you Need to Know about Implantation Bleeding.
There are other kinds of early bleeding that may require emergency medical attention, such as:
- Molar pregnancy
- Ectopic pregnancy
That is also followed by
- Back pain
- Losing consciousness or faintness
- Abdominal pain or severe cramping
- Shoulder pain
- Vaginal discharge changes
- Frequent vomiting and nausea
While the bleeding may be a little heavier, it’s more like experiencing a normal period.
Bleeding During Early Pregnancy
What Causes Bleeding in The Second And Third Trimesters?
If you experience bleeding beyond the first trimester, then something is indeed wrong. Whether the bleeding during the second and third trimester is light or heavy, whether it has symptoms or not, you need to call your doctor right away.
Common causes of bleeding during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy include:
- Term or preterm labor or cervical dilation
- Placental abruption
- Placenta previa
- Vasa previa (rare)
- Uterine rupture (rare)
This occurs when the placenta is implanted low in the uterus and is either really close or covers the cervix. The bleeding may be different at times, but there are no other symptoms that you will experience. Placenta previa hinders labor as well as delivery.
This indicates any birth that takes place before 37 weeks. Prior to peterm labor, some women experience period-like symptoms, along with a large amoun of mucus discharge. Other symptoms of perterm labor may include a sensation of pressure in the vagina, backache and changes in discharge.
This refers to the uterus muscle that either separates or tears, which causes uncontrolled bleeding. It occurs commonly in women in the United States who have delivered in the past via cesarean delivery. Although this may be rare, this tear occurs on old car lines along the uterus.
Placental abruption occurs during the last few months of pregnancy. This condition involves the placenta being detached from the uterus, which then causes heavy bleeding and possibly also severe cramping as well as severe stomach pain. Some health conditions, such as high blood pressure, can increase the risk for placental abruption.
Many of the symptoms that occur during the latter part of pregnancy can cause bleeding as well as other symptoms that may come off as having a period, but it not actually one.
Third Trimester Bleeding
Bleeding and Pregnancy: Conclusion
It is not possible to get periods during pregnancy. However, there are some pregnant women who experience symptoms that are identical to that of a period during their first trimesters, which include:
- Light cramping
- Vaginal bleeding (light, and short-term)
- Lower back pain
The only difference here is that these symptoms are natural part of your body to prepare it for pregnancy. If any one of these symptoms are either painful or don’t go away soon, and occur during the second and third trimesters, then it is vital that you seek immediate emergency attention from your doctor.
This is usually tricky because it is very hard to tell whether the bleeding you experience requires immediate medical attention or not. But just in the event you do indeed experience any kind of bleeding during pregnancy, then you must inform your doctor right away.
Heavy Bleeding when Pregnant: Have your Say
Any questions or comments about heavy bleeding and pregnancy? Let us know your thoughts below.
Tammy Ford is the resident expert for all things Women’s Health (vaginal discharge and infections, perimenopause, menstrual cycles and more) and is also a chief tester of all things eco-friendly period products. She has a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and specializes in reproductive health.
You can contact her via email: [email protected]