Pregnancy - vaginal bleeding; Maternal blood loss - vaginal
Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy is any discharge of blood from the vagina during pregnancy.
Up to 1 in 4 women have vaginal bleeding at some time during their pregnancy. Bleeding is more common in the first 3 months (first trimester), especially with twins.
A small amount of light spotting or bleeding may be noted 10 to 14 days after conception. This spotting results from the fertilized egg attaching itself to the lining of the uterus. Assuming it is light and does not last very long, this finding is most often nothing to be concerned about.
During the first 3 months, vaginal bleeding may be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Contact the health care provider right away.
During months 4 to 9, bleeding may be a sign of:
Other possible causes of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy:
Avoid sexual intercourse until your provider tells you that it is safe to start having intercourse again.
Consume only fluids if the bleeding and cramping are severe.
You may need to cut down your activity or be put on bed rest at home.
Medicine is not needed in most cases. DO NOT take any medicines without talking to your provider.
Talk to your provider about what to look for, such as the amount of bleeding and color of the blood.
Contact your provider if:
Your provider will take a medical history and perform a physical exam.
You will probably have a pelvic exam, or ultrasound as well.
Tests that may be done include:
You may be referred to a high risk specialist for the duration of the pregnancy.
Francois KE, Foley MR. Antepartum and postpartum hemorrhage. In: Landon MB, Galan HL, Jauniaux ERM, et al, eds. Gabbe's Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 18.
Salhi BA, Nagrani S. Acute complications in pregnancy. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 178.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 1/30/2020
Reviewed By: LaQuita Martinez, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Alpharetta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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