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Spotting During Pregnancy

Spotting during the early part of your pregnancy is normal. In fact, up to 25 percent of pregnant women experience spotting during their first trimester. Real bleeding, however, may be a sign of something wrong. If you are unsure whether the amount of blood flow you’re experiencing is normal, contact your doctor immediately.

Spotting can be tricky, as it can be confused with menstrual or period symptoms. Lower back pain, cramps, abdominal pain, and spotting are all normally signs of a period beginning. If you are pregnant and do not know, you can easily confuse the two.

“Spotting” is just that. It’s not heavy bleeding; it’s a very light bleeding and is usually brown or pink in color rather than bright red. In most cases, it’s the result of implantation, but there are other reasons why a pregnant woman spots:

  • Implantation
  • Vaginal infection
  • Cervical infection
  • Intercourse
  • Mucus plug releases
  • Early sign of miscarriage

Spotting During the First Trimester

During implantation, as the blastocyst implants or attaches itself to the uterine wall, a small amount of blood is shed. If the cervix is irritated or inflamed, or has become extra sensitive, this can also cause spotting. Unfortunately, this can also be a sign of miscarriage. The fact that the color tone is brown or pink is good news. If the spotting is accompanied by a fever or severe pain, or if the color is bright red, you should seek assistance from your healthcare provider immediately. If you’re just not sure about the situation, you should still talk to your healthcare provider immediately. Don’t wait around.

Spotting During the Second and Third Trimesters

Although it’s most common for women to spot during their first trimester, it’s not unheard of or uncommon for a woman to spot during the middle and end of her pregnancy term. Once the mucus plug releases, it causes slight spotting, indicating that labor is imminent. If you are having intercourse during these trimesters, that too can cause spotting by irritating the cervix.

Contacting Your Healthcare Provider

Spotting is not usually a reason to contact your doctor. However, if this is your first pregnancy, if you weren’t expecting to be pregnant, or if you are generally concerned about what’s going on, contact your healthcare provider at once.

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[Page updated November 2014]