Symptoms and Signs of Bleeding During Pregnancy (Light, Heavy) Causes, Symptoms, and Pictures

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Bleeding During Pregnancy (Light, Heavy) Causes, Symptoms, and Pictures

Vaginal bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy is fairly common, occurring in up to 20% of pregnancies. In most cases, vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy is not a cause for concern. Implantation bleeding is light bleeding that occurs at the time of implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterine lining. Other causes for early bleeding in pregnancy are changes in the cervix and vaginal infections.

In some cases, vaginal bleeding can be a sign of a serious problem such as impending miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Symptoms associated with a miscarriage can include abdominal or back pain. Abdominal or pelvic pain is also a symptom associated with ectopic pregnancy. If a vaginal infection is the cause of bleeding during pregnancy, a vaginal discharge may be present. It is appropriate to seek medical advice any time you experience bleeding during pregnancy.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.