Bleeding In Early Pregnancy Could be A Sign of Miscarriage, Fertility Specialist Explains Symptoms & Risks

If you see blood spots during early months of pregnancy, you must see a doctor as soon as possible as you might have suffered a miscarriage.

Dr Prachi Benara
Women's HealthWritten by: Dr Prachi BenaraPublished at: Aug 09, 2021
Updated at: Aug 09, 2021
Bleeding In Early Pregnancy Could be A Sign of Miscarriage, Fertility Specialist Explains Symptoms & Risks

A woman's body will go through massive changes during her pregnancy and these changes are felt and observed stronger during the first trimester. The first three months of a pregnancy may not show as evidently from the outside, but inside the expectant mother's body there is a rollercoaster of changes. Hormones are surging and the body is preparing to nurture and carry a baby for the next few months. With so much happening in the body, slight bleeding during this period may not necessarily mean that something is wrong. It is important not to panic, but be aware of the changes in the body. A miscarriage in early pregnancy is common, which is why most couples don't share the news of their pregnancy till after the first trimester. As a doctor with a career spanning more than a decade, I have realized the importance of the right information that can help an expectant mother sail through her nine months without fear. In this article I want to talk to the readers about bleeding in early pregnancy and when you should actually be concerned. 

Is it a miscarriage? 

Miscarriage is when the pregnancy is lost on its own in the first 20 weeks. It is found that around 30 percent of pregnancies can end in miscarriages and although there is pain and guilt that follows it, as a doctor I can tell you that it is not your fault. You haven't done anything to cause it. While misplaced anxiety should not weigh you down, it is also important that you are aware of some warning signs so that you can act in time to prevent complications. So what are these warning signs?

  • If light bleeding or spotting progresses to heavy bleeding 
  • Pain in lower back and/or abdomen 
  • Passing blood clots in vaginal discharge 
  • Decreased symptoms of pregnancy like nausea or breast sensitivity. 

Speak to your gynaecologist if you have either of these symptoms of miscarriage. Your doctor will advise an ultrasound and may also want to check your pregnancy hormone (serum β hCG).

miscarriage signs

Image courtesy- New Mums Hub

Why do miscarriages happen?

The most common reason for a miscarriage in first trimester is a problem with the baby’s chromosomes or genetic material. Let me explain to you that chromosomes are thread-like structures that contain genetic 'codes' which determine what we inherit from our parents. A human being has 46 chromosomes, out of which 23 chromosomes are received from each parent. Ideally 23 chromosomes in the ova or mother's egg and 23 from the father's sperm should give 46 chromosomes to the foetus.  If however, the baby does not inherit the right number of chromosomes, it will not develop properly and pregnancy can end in a miscarriage.

Another reason for a miscarriage could be the non-formation or problems in the formation of placenta. Placenta is of course the organ that connects the baby to the mother and any issue with it can also lead to loss of pregnancy. 

Also Read: What Is Threatened Miscarriage? Know Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and More

Why do miscarriages happen

Image courtesy- freepik.com

What are my chances of having a miscarriage?

Unfortunately miscarriages are very common. And even though you may have no control over it, doctors have found that there are some risk factors that can increase the chance of a miscarriage. 

  • Mother's age: At the age of 30 years, 1 in 5 pregnancies may miscarry. As the age of the mother increases the chances of miscarriage also increase progressively. 
  • Medical problems like uncontrolled diabetes or blood pressure. 
  • Excessive alcohol, smoking and obesity. 
  • Excessive intake of caffeine
  • Use of drugs.  
  • Untreated infections 
  • Problems in the uterus like fibroids or abnormal shape of the uterus.

Are you at a higher risk of miscarriage next time?

Here is the good news. Most miscarriages occur as an one off event! So you needn't worry about your next pregnancy also ending in a miscarriage. The chance of a recurring miscarriage is almost a 1 in 100. So even if you had an unfortunate miscarriage there is a good chance to have a healthy baby in future.

Also Read: Diet After Miscarriage, Know What To Eat And What Not For Healing

When can you try for another baby?

Remember that a miscarriage can be emotionally taxing, do not supress feelings of grief. Take time to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself before you try for pregnancy again.  Medically, you can try for another pregnancy after you have had one normal period post the miscarriage.

Read More Articles in Women’s Health

Main image credits- Chichester News

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