Bleeding while pregnant is relatively common but bleeding from the vagina at any stage of pregnancy could be a dangerous sign. If this happens to you, contact your midwife or doctor immediately. The cause for bleeding while pregnant may not be something serious but it’s wise to try and identify it as soon as possible so as to seek necessary treatment. Here are some of the common causes of bleeding while pregnant and ways you can manage the condition.

Causes of bleeding while pregnant

If you have bleeding during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, you might have had a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. However, most women who bleed at this stage of pregnancy often go on to have normal pregnancies, and will deliver successfully.


A miscarriage is a pregnancy that ends before the 24th week, and in most cases it causes bleeding. Miscarriages are rather common during the first 3 months of pregnancy and about 1 in 5 confirmed pregnancies ends this way. Early miscarriages (before 14 weeks) usually occur because there is a problem with the baby. However, they can be due to hormonal problems or blood clotting .Unfortunately, most miscarriages cannot be prevented.

Ectopic pregnancy

When fertilized egg implants outside the womb such as in the fallopian tube, this is known as an ectopic pregnancy, and can cause bleeding. The fertilized egg will not develop properly outside your womb and this can put your health at serious risk if the pregnancy continues. In most cases, the egg must be removed through an operation or with medicines. ectopic pregnancies are relatively less common than miscarriages.

Causes of later bleeding while pregnant

If you have bleeding in the later stages of your pregnancy, it could be a result of several factors. Some of the most common include:

Changes in the cervix

During pregnancy, the cells on the cervix will change, making it more likely to bleed, especially after having sex. But these cell changes (called cervical ectropion) are often harmless. Vaginal infections may also cause a small amount of vaginal bleeding while pregnant.

Placental abruption

Placental abruption is a condition in which the placenta starts to come away from the wall of the womb, causing bleeding .People with this condition will have stomach pain, and this can occur even if there is no bleeding. Placental abruption is a very serious problem and may necessitate delivery of the baby.

Placenta praevia/low-lying placenta

Placenta praevia is when the placenta is attached to the lower part of the womb, either near or covering the cervix. In general, the position of the placenta is recorded at the anomaly scan, when many women have a low-lying placenta. However, the placenta often ‘moves’ upwards away from your cervix as pregnancy progresses.

If the placenta remains low in the womb, you are at a higher risk of bleeding during your pregnancy, or at the time of delivering the baby. The bleeding can be very heavy and could put you and your baby at risk. It could be important to go to a hospital to be given emergency treatment very quickly if you have bleeding. In some cases, a vaginal or internal scan may be needed to find out how close the placenta is to your cervix. Fortunately this is completely safe. In cases where the placenta is near to the cervix or covering it, a caesarean may be recommended since the baby cannot get past it to be born vaginally.

A ‘show’

One of the common kinds of bleeding in late pregnancy is the small amount of blood that is usually mixed with mucus that is known as a ‘show’. It occurs when the plug of mucus that has been in the cervix during your pregnancy comes away. This is typically a sign that the cervix is undergoing changes and becoming ready for labor to start. Many pregnant women will experience this a few days before contractions start or during the labor itself.

Vasa praevia

Vasa praevia is a rare condition. It occurs when the baby’s blood vessels run through the membranes covering the cervix. Normally the blood vessels would be protected within the umbilical cord and the placenta. When your waters break (the membranes rupture), these vessels may be torn and this can cause vaginal bleeding. The baby can lose a life-threatening amount of blood.

It is very difficult to diagnose vasa praevia, but it may occasionally be identified before birth by an ultrasound scan. Vasa praevia should be suspected if there is bleeding and the baby’s heart rate changes suddenly after the rupture of the membranes.

Finding the cause of bleeding while pregnant

To determine what is causing bleeding, a vaginal (pelvic) examination may be necessary. Doctors can also use ultrasound scan or take blood tests to check your hormone levels. The doctor might also ask you about other symptoms like cramp, dizziness and pain. in some cases the cause of pregnancy bleeding may be difficult to work out.

If your symptoms are mild to moderate and your baby is not due for a while, your doctor may recommend that you attend regular checkups and in some cases ask you to stay in hospital for close observation. The length of the stay in hospital will depend on the cause of the bleeding as well as the stage of your pregnancy (weeks you’ve been pregnant). Being in hospital will the doctor to pay special attention on you and your baby so that they can take quick action if there you have further problems.

Treatment for bleeding while pregnant

1.Monitor Bleeding

Put on a sanitary pad or panty liner to keep track of the amount of bleeding.

2.Try Prevent Further Bleeding

Avoid inserting anything into the vagina. avoid sex, tampons, or douching while you’re bleeding.

  1. Get from your doctor
  2. a) Call your health care provider immediately to find out if you should go the hospital or doctor’s office.
  3. b) Tell the doctor or hospital staff if you have heavy bleeding, abdominal pain, cramping, fever, chills, or contractions, or if you feel lightheaded or faint.
  4. c) Put any tissue passed from the vagina into a clean container. Give it to your doctor for examination.
  5. d) A health care provider will examine you for signs of dangerous blood loss and may do tests to confirm the health of your pregnancy.