Spotting During Early Pregnancy - What Causes It?

Many women are very worried when they realise they have had spotting during early pregnancy. This means they have had a small amount of blood pass through their vagina, and the immediate thought when this happens is ‘oh no, am I having a miscarriage?’

Around 15 – 20% of women experience spotting during early pregnancy, so it is fairly common. There are a few things that can cause it although it’s not always easy to tell what the cause is. Certainly though, a bit of minor spotting does not have to mean you are going to miscarry. The reason for it could be linked to any of the following:

1. Breakthrough bleeding – where your normal hormones that are still at work in the background can cause a bit of light bleeding around the time you would have had a period.

2. Implantation bleeding – some experience a small amount of spotting when the newly fertilized egg implants into the lining of the womb and the placenta starts to form. This can also occur around the time you would have had your period.

3. Cervical erosion – this is a softening of the cervix and can cause spotting during early pregnancy.

4. An infection of the vagina or cervix – causing a small amount of bleeding after sex.

5. A polyp – this is a benign growth and could cause a small amount of bleeding after sex.

In lots of cases, a small amount of spotting will indicate one of the above causes.

If, however, you are getting fresh blood in larger quantities, clots, or fresh spotting accompanied by tummy cramps, you should contact your midwife or doctor immediately as this can mean the onset of a miscarriage or it can also indicate an ectopic pregnancy.

If you have had a small amount of spotting but it hasn’t continued and you are not getting cramps, then there is probably no need to worry. You may want to contact your midwife in any case though, just to put your mind at ease, but try not to worry overly. It’s quite likely that everything is fine and as it should be.

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