Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy

Definition

Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy is any discharge of blood from the vagina during pregnancy.

Considerations

Up to 1 in 4 women have vaginal bleeding at some time during their pregnancy. Bleeding is more commonin the first 3 months (first trimester), especially with twins.

Causes

During the first 3 months, vaginal bleeding may be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Contact the doctor right away.

During months 4 - 9, bleeding may be a sign of:

Other possible causes of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy:

Home Care

Avoid sexual intercourse until your health care 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.

Medication is not needed in most cases. Do not take any medicines without talking to your health care provider.

Talk to your doctor about what to look for, such as the amount of bleeding and color of the blood.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Contact your health care provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your health care 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:


Review Date: 3/11/2014
Reviewed By: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.