Spotting During Pregnancy

spotting during pregnancy


Spotting during pregnancy is not uncommon, especially if you are in your first trimester. It is not necessary to worry initially, but it can be a sign of a more serious problem, so it's wise to get checked out by your OB/GYN or primary doctor to ensure your safety and that of your growing baby.

During the first trimester of your baby's life, a small percentage of women will experience some form of bleedingi. Potential causes could include:

Implantation Bleeding

As the newly fertilized egg implants itself into the uterine lining, there may some normal spotting during this early stage of pregnancy. It could be mistaken for a light period. Using panty liners can help save your clothes from being permanently stained.


While this can be an upsetting topic, during the first 12 weeks, miscarriage can occur, especially if it's a woman's first pregnancy. Spotting during pregnancy does not automatically mean that you are going to miscarry. However, if the spotting turns into a heavier flow or if cramps in the abdominal area start to increase, a visit to the doctor or hospital is necessary.

Changes to the Cervix

After pregnancy occurs, more blood is routed to the cervix to develop additional blood vessels. When this happens, intercourse with a partner, a pelvic exam or a Pap test from the doctor can trigger bleeding from the cervical area.


Infections in the cervix or vagina can cause spotting during pregnancy and should be examined by a doctor to ensure no negative effects on the pregnancy.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Spotting during pregnancy can sometimes be caused by an ectopic pregnancy, which is when the fertilized egg implants itself in a fallopian tube, rather than the uterus. If the tube ruptures, internal bleeding and spotting can occur. If you have any pain in the abdomen, pelvis or shoulders, your ob-gyn or doctor should be informed.

Placenta Issues

Later in a pregnancy, placenta issues can cause spotting during pregnancy and will need to be addressed for the health of the baby. Placenta issues can include:

Placental abruption or detachment

If the placenta detaches itself before or during the birth, this can cause spotting and bleeding. This is a serious issue and you should consult your doctor or OBGYN.

Placental Previa

Placental Previa happens when the placenta lies low and partially or completely covers the cervix. This can cause bleeding, usually without pain and can resolve on its own. Keep watch after 32 weeks of pregnancy.

Placenta Accreta

A part of the placenta (or all) can not separate itself from the uterine wall. This is also a reason to visit your doctor.

Sign of Labor

If you are in the late stages of pregnancy (around 37 weeks), spotting during pregnancy could be a sign of labor and a trip to the doctor will verify whether you should be packing up the weekend bag.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.

i. Content produced and distributed by MedlinePlus. 2016, October July 1.
Vaginal Bleeding [Article]
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