Pregnancy spotting can be alarming and worrisome. Your mind can jump to different scary scenarios at the first sight of blood. However, if you see a few drops of blood on your underwear or after wiping, don’t fret! Read on to answer questions like when does spotting occur, what causes it, when you should contact your health provider, and how to manage it at home.
Everything You Need to Know About Pregnancy Spotting
What Is Pregnancy Spotting?
Pregnancy spotting happens when there is a light blood discharge from the vagina during pregnancy. It is light enough that it doesn’t soak through a pad, with a color ranging from red to brown.
While it can be a cause for concern, you can rest assured it is very common and usually non-threatening, especially in the first trimester. Twenty percent of women experience light bleeding in the first few months of pregnancy. There are several reasons for this, including:
- Implantation bleeding: During the first few weeks of pregnancy, the fertilized egg will attach itself to the uterus, causing it to bleed as a response.
- Hormonal changes: Changes in how your body produces hormones affect your cervix, making it more tender and prone to bleeding. This is especially triggered by stress or physical activity.
- Sexual intercourse: More blood vessels develop in the cervix during pregnancy, so having sex can irritate it and cause spotting.
- Undergoing a vaginal exam: Any gynecological exam that involves penetration into your vaginal area can trigger light bleeding.
You should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you are spotting:
- Turns into bleeding: Heavy bleeding during pregnancy (for instance, if you’re soaking through your pad) can be a sign of something more serious. Keep track of the amount of blood you’re discharging.
- Is accompanied by abdominal cramps and pain: You may be at risk for a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy if you’re experiencing pain in the abdominal area alongside bleeding.
- Is accompanied by a discharge: Discharge that is yellow or brown in color and smells foul can be a sign of infection.
- Occurs in the later part of your pregnancy: Any bleeding that occurs in your second or third trimester can indicate problems with the placenta or preterm labor.
Otherwise, if you’re experiencing consistent light spotting, there’s no need to panic! You can try taking care of it at home. Here are a few steps to fix it and prevent it from happening again:
1. Avoid Lifting Heavy Objects
During pregnancy, the cervix is very sensitive and strenuous physical activity can irritate it. Try not to lift heavy objects while you’re spotting. If it can’t be avoided, don’t carry anything over 10 pounds.
2. Get Rest
Spotting during pregnancy may be a sign you need to rest up more. Work, exercise, and any form of physical stress can aggravate your condition, so stay in bed longer.
3. Put Your Feet Up
While resting, remember to put your feet up. Elevation can help decrease blood flow and also encourage you to relax more.
4. Be Cautious with Sexual Intercourse
Vaginal penetration during sexual intercourse encourages blood flow to the cervix, which can cause or worsen spotting. If you’re uncertain if having sex during your pregnancy will be safe for you and your baby, it’s best to ask a doctor first.
5. Use Pads
Remember to use pads or liners instead of tampons, as you should avoid inserting anything into your vaginal area. It’s also easier to monitor the amount, color, odor, and consistency of your spotting when you wear pads. This way, it will be easier to keep track of your spotting, so you can share more accurate observations with your doctor.
6. Stay Hydrated
Don’t forget to drink lots of water, as dehydration can cause spotting. It also helps keep you and your baby healthy.
7. Take it Easy
Any form of stress can trigger spotting. Get off your feet and take time off work and chores. Do whatever relaxes you physically, emotionally, and mentally, be it meditating, watching a new fun series, or reading to your little one.
Want to learn more about pregnancy spotting? Check out this video from March of Dimes:
It’s important to stay calm when dealing with spotting. Seeing blood is understandably scary, but remember that you can take control of it. Just follow these simple steps to manage pregnancy spotting and ensure the health and well-being of you and your baby. Always remember that spotting during pregnancy may be a sign that your body needs to slow down. If it persists or is accompanied by another worrying symptom, then it’s time to pay a visit to your health provider.
Have you experienced spotting before? Do you know other ways to manage it? Let us know in the comments!