hands on a pregnant stomach in the early stages of pregnancy

When you’re pregnant and notice spotting, it can be concerning. While it is not always cause for alarm, it’s important to understand what can cause it and what it may mean.

What is spotting during pregnancy?

Spotting during pregnancy is simply a small amount of vaginal bleeding, usually just a few drops. It can happen any time throughout your pregnancy, though is common during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Spotting will just leave a few drops of blood.

This is different than bleeding during pregnancy, which is a heavier flow of blood that will fill up a panty liner or require a sanitary napkin. Bleeding in the second or third trimester could mean something more serious. It’s important to speak to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

What causes spotting during pregnancy?

Spotting during pregnancy can happen because of:

  • The fertilized egg implanting into the cervix (conception)
  • Blood vessel development in the cervix
  • Infection
  • Ectopic pregnancy, which is the implantation of the fetus outside of the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube
  • Early loss of pregnancy (miscarriage) during the first 13 weeks
  • Preterm labor
  • Problems with the placenta, including placenta previa, placenta accreta and placental abruption

These issues can cause spotting at different times throughout your pregnancy. The timing, as well as the details of your bleeding (like color of blood, consistency, and how much) can help your doctor better understand the care you need. Speak to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

Please note this content is for informational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider about your specific journey.

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