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Dr Anne Henderson, Consultant Gynaecologist
Some women may experience vaginal bleeding during pregnancy and wonder if they can have a period while pregnant. The simple answer is ‘no.’
The next obvious questions are why this would happen and if it is a sign of trouble with your pregnancy. While it may only be spotting, it is best to see your doctor or midwife, particularly if it continues or if you experience pain.
For the health of you and your baby, do not ignore these symptoms.
Your body only menstruates after it ovulates each month. Therefore, it is not possible to have a period while pregnant.
Women who experience vaginal bleeding during the first three months of pregnancy often mistake spotting for their period. The good news is that most women who experience spotting go on to have healthy babies without any complications. On average, 15 to 25 percent of women have spotting early in pregnancy.
Although spotting can catch you off-guard, it does not mimic the flow of a period. When you menstruate, you begin with light bleeding, which then becomes heavier before tapering off.
However, if you are bleeding heavily enough to soak through a pad, you may no longer be pregnant and should seek medical attention.
The obvious next questions are: ‘why are you bleeding?’ and ‘what does it mean?’.
Always seek medical advice if you are experiencing bleeding or spotting during your pregnancy. Your doctor is in a better position to identify the cause based on your symptoms and health history.
The possible causes of bleeding at this stage:
The last four causes often come with heavier bleeding and other symptoms, such as back or shoulder pain, fainting, fatigue, fever, severe cramps, unusual vaginal discharge or uncontrollable vomiting.
You may also experience bleeding from a haematoma between the uterine wall and the placenta.
If you experience any bleeding during the first three months of pregnancy, you should always speak to a doctor.
If you experience bleeding after the first three months, you should seek emergency medical help immediately, regardless of how much blood you see. Always make a note of the colour, volume and consistency of the blood to help your doctor diagnose you more quickly.
Disclaimer: This information aims to answer some of your questions or concerns. If you are worried about your health, talk to your family doctor or your gynecologist for professional medical advice.