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Bleeding During Early Pregnancy

Approximately 25% percent of women experience some sort of bleeding during their first trimester. There are several potential causes for bleeding during pregnancy, and many doctors believe some bleeding is normal. If you experience bleeding during pregnancy, it is best to inform your doctor right away to rule out major complications.

Implantation bleeding

Implantation bleeding is fairly common during early pregnancy. This can occur up to 12 days after conception as the fertilized egg begins to burrow into the uterine lining. This type of bleeding is light, often pink or brown in color. It is not the same as menstrual bleeding.

Subchorionic Hematoma (SCH)

Subchorionic Hematoma (SCH) is the most common type of chorionic bleeding which occurs in 3.1% of all pregnanices. This is the most recognized cause of first trimester bleeding, and some evidence suggests it may be more common in pregnancies resulting from assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Subchorionic Hematomas may cause the placenta to detach from the uterine wall if it occurs later in the pregnancy. The SCH can produce red, menstrual-like bleeding, and typically dissolves on its own. Your doctor may advise pelvic rest, follow-up ultrasounds, and to avoid heavy lifting until the SCH has cleared.


An infection may also be the culprit of early pregnancy bleeding. You should report this, along with any history of Sexually Transmitted Disease to your doctor.

Ectopic pregnancy

Occurring in 2% of pregnancies, an ectopic pregnancy is one that develops outside of the uterus. Typically the embryo implants inside the fallopian tube. This can be a serious, life-threatening complication and should be addressed immediately if you experience pain or bleeding. A beta hCG of 1,500 mIU per mL or greater, with the absence of gestational sac on ultrasound usually indicates an ectopic pregnancy.


Bleeding in early pregnancy accompanied by cramps and the passing of tissue could be the result of a miscarriage. It is important to keep in mind that not all early pregnancy bleeding means you will miscarry, however, up to 20% of pregnancies will end in miscarriage.

As with any unexpected bleeding, it is best to report to your doctor right away so that any available treatments or monitoring can be administered proactively.


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