Also known as: Pregnancy - vaginal bleeding and Maternal blood loss - vaginal
- The placenta separating from the inner wall of the uterus before the baby is born (abruptio placentae)
- The placenta is covering all or part of the opening to the cervix (placenta previa)
- Vasa previa
- Bed rest at home may be for the rest of your pregnancy or until the bleeding stops.
- The bed rest may be complete.
- Or, you may be able to get up to go to the bathroom, walk around the house, or do light chores.
- You have any vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Treat this as a potential emergency.
- You have vaginal bleeding and have placenta previa (get to the hospital right away).
- You have cramps or labor pains.
- Blood tests
- Pregnancy ultrasound
- Ultrasound of the pelvis
Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy is any discharge of blood from the vagina during pregnancy.
Up to 1 in 4 women have vaginal bleeding at some time during their pregnancy. Bleeding is more common in the first 3 months (first trimester), especially with twins.
During the first 3 months, vaginal bleeding may be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Contact the health care provider right away.
During months 4 to 9, bleeding may be a sign of:
Other possible causes of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy:
Avoid sexual intercourse until your provider tells you that it is safe to start having intercourse again.
Drink only fluids if the bleeding and cramping are severe.
You may need to cut down your activity or be put on bed rest at home.
Medicine is not needed in most cases. DO NOT take any medicines without talking to your provider.
Talk to your provider about what to look for, such as the amount of bleeding and color of the blood.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your provider if:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your provider will take a medical history and perform a physical exam.
You will probably have a pelvic exam as well.
Tests that may be done include:
Francois KE, Foley MR. Antepartum and postpartum hemorrhage. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 19.
Houry DE, Salhi BA. Acute complications of pregnancy. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 178.
- Review date:
- May 04, 2016
- Reviewed by:
- Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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