I’m Pregnant But Why Am I Still “Menstruating”?

“Light periods” or spotting during pregnancy can be due to a variety of reasons. Do any of the conditions listed below look familiar to you?

Early Pregnancy

Light pink or brown spotting in early days of pregnancy Termed as implantation bleeding, it happens when the fertilised egg implants. As the placenta sets in the uterine lining, it causes bleeding.

Implantation of embryo outside the womb

If the pregnancy takes place outside the womb, often in the Fallopian tube, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. When this happens, the tube may burst, resulting in abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding. You are at risk if you’ve had a previous ectopic pregnancy, surgery on a Fallopian tube, several induced abortions or infertility problems.

Bleeding with sensitive and tender cervix

After intercourse, some women may bleed because the cervix is tender and sensitive. Avoid intercourse until you have seen your doctor to ensure there’s no further irritation.

Can Bleeding Mean Miscarriage?

In some cases, yes. However, about half of the women who bleed during pregnancy do not have miscarriages.

Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester and affect 15% to 20% of pregnancies. If you’re bleeding, see a doctor quickly. If he finds that you’re experiencing a threatened abortion, you’ll need bed rest and may require medication to sustain the pregnancy.

If the doctor confirms that you’ve had an incomplete abortion or missed abortion, you’ll need to go to the hospital to have your womb cleaned and all foetal tissue removed.

Late Pregnancy

Bleeding with pain before or during labour

Bleeding may be caused by placental abruption – separation of placenta from the uterine wall before or during labour. You are at risk of this rare condition if you have high blood pressure, older than 40, have had five or more children (grand multipara), smoke, or if you have sustained trauma on the abdomen.

Bleeding without pain

Placenta previa occurs when the placenta lies low in the womb, partly or completely covering the cervix. Bleeding planceta previa is a serious condition that can harm both you and your baby and requires immediate medical care. Patients at risk are those with previous Caesarean births and other surgery on the womb.

Bleeding with abdominal pressure, backache and stomach cramps

The mucus plug covering the opening of the uterus may pass small amounts of blood. If you experience this a few weeks before your due date, you may be having a preterm labour. You will need immediate medical attention if this happens.

On Preterm Labour and “Bloody Show”

As the cervix opens up to prepare for labour, you may notice some light bloody mucous being discharged. Called a “bloody show”, this usually happens before the actual onset of labour.

If you discover this bloody mucous show before full term (38 weeks), you may be experiencing preterm labour. If preterm labour is diagnosed, your baby’s and your own well-being must be weighed against the benefits and risks of stopping the labour or allowing it to continue.

What Should I Do?

  • Bleeding any time in pregnancy should be taken seriously. See your doctor promptly.
  • Wear a pad or panty liner to monitor how much you are bleeding and what kind of bleeding you have. Describe what you have observed when you visit your doctor.
  • Do not wear a tampon or administer douche to the vaginal area.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse until you’ve been cleared by your doctor.

Subscribe to our parenting newsletter.