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Bleeding during early pregnancy – what are some causes?


You may be surprised to learn that it’s quite common to experience bleeding when you are in the first three months of a pregnancy. If the bleeding is light, or simply spotting, it is most likely an implantation bleed and it is highly likely that the pregnancy will continue as normal. However, you should always seek professional advice about bleeding of any kind, in case it is a symptom of something more serious.

Another cause of bleeding during the first trimester is changes in the cervix caused by the hormones that are produced as the result of pregnancy or a vaginal infection. These causes are not serious but they may require some treatment.

The more serious causes of bleeding during pregnancy include:

Threatened miscarriage

If you have symptoms such as bleeding and mild cramping, you could be at risk of having a miscarriage. A threatened miscarriage is diagnosed when it is confirmed that the cervix is closed and the baby’s heart rate is still present. More often than not, women who suffer a threatened miscarriage go on to have a healthy pregnancy.


Miscarriage is unfortunately a common event (about 25-30% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage before 12 weeks). Even though it most commonly occurs early in the pregnancy, it is still a significant loss and it can be quite traumatic. If you are suffering a miscarriage you are likely to suffer pain in the abdomen and back, and may have heavy bleeding. Many miscarriages are the result of a spontaneous genetic defect in the embryo.

Molar pregnancy

Molar pregnancies are quite rare and happen when there is placental tissue growth in the uterus that is not normal. This tissue growth happens without the presence of a developing baby, but it brings the symptoms of early pregnancy due to the placental hormones. If you experience spotting in pregnancy it may be a sign of this condition. You can have an ultrasound carried out in order to confirm the condition.


All of these issues can result in bleeding during pregnancy; some are obviously more serious than others. If you experience any bleeding at all, you should talk to your doctor or midwife.


You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 07 3188 5000.

This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.

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