Bleeding During Pregnancy

Although frightening, bleeding during pregnancy is not always a cause for concern. In fact, bleeding during the first trimester is actually common and most likely harmless. If bleeding occurs during the second and third trimesters, however, it may be a sign of a more serious complication. No matter where you are in your pregnancy, any symptoms you experience, such as bleeding, should be discussed with your doctor. Having an assessment during pregnancy can be extremely helpful in allowing a doctor to determine the presence of any complications.

Causes of Bleeding During Pregnancy

Bleeding during pregnancy can be attributed to many different causes, and while some cases are more serious, others might actually be harmless to both the mother and child. Continue reading for some possible reasons for bleeding or spotting during pregnancy.

Hormonal Changes

Pregnancy hormones can alter a woman’s cervix, making it more sensitive and more susceptible to bleeding after intercourse.

Implantation Bleeding

This kind of bleeding occurs about 6-12 days after conception as the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall. Everyone experiences implantation bleeding differently. Some women may experience light spotting for a few hours, others may experience this for a few days and some women will not experience it at all.

Sexual Intercourse

One of the most common reasons for bleeding during pregnancy is sexual intercourse. Because the cervix is so sensitive and there is an increased blood flow to the cervix when a woman is pregnant, some women may experience bleeding after sex. It is important to note that having sex while pregnant will not cause a miscarriage nor will it harm the baby, which is protected in the uterus. If you experience bleeding after intercourse, the best thing to do is hold off for a while until you speak with your doctor.


Miscarriages often occur during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and are the body’s way of terminating an unhealthy pregnancy. Signs of a miscarriage include vaginal bleeding and cramps that are stronger than menstrual cramps. After the first trimester, the risk of having a miscarriage greatly decreases. Although it may not be a miscarriage, bleeding during the second and third trimesters can be a sign of a serious complication and should be discussed with your doctor as soon as possible.

Placental Abruption

Placental abruption and placenta previa usually occurs during the second half of a pregnancy and can cause immense bleeding. Although rare, placental abruption occurs when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. Placenta previa occurs when the placenta either completely or partially covers a woman’s cervix. Both conditions can be life threatening for both the baby and the mother.

Preterm Labor

Preterm birth can occur as early as 37 weeks and may present with symptoms including vaginal bleeding, cramps, contractions and back pain. Before 37 weeks, experiencing any of these symptoms may mean you are going into early labor.

Internal Examinations

Internal examinations, such as a Pap smear or pelvic exam, are usually conducted between the sixth and twelfth week of pregnancy. During pregnancy, there is greater blood flow to the cervix so it is not uncommon to experience spotting after an internal examination. The spotting usually does not last too long and should go away within a day of your examination.

High-Risk Pregnancy Care in NJ

Our team of dedicated physicians at New Jersey Perinatal Associates wants to help you with any questions or concerns you may have about your pregnancy. Find your nearest location and give us a call today to set up an appointment!