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4 reasons for early pregnancy bleeding

Bleeding or pain in early pregnancy is relatively common and does not always mean something is wrong, but it’s important to seek medical advice as soon as possible anyway. You can call your GP, midwife or Early Pregnancy Assessment Service for advice. They may suggest you go to hospital for some checks, which might include a urine sample or an ultrasound scan.

If you start to bleed heavily, experience severe pain or dizziness during your pregnancy, you should immediately go to the emergency department.

There are many reasons for bleeding or spotting in early pregnancy, including:

  1. Implantation bleeding. This usually happens approximately six to 12 days after you’ve conceived (around the time your period would usually arrive). It’s caused by the burrowing of the fertilised egg into the uterine wall.

  2. Ectopic pregnancy, which is when conception takes place somewhere other than the uterus, such as the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies are very risky for a woman and, very sadly, it’s not possible to save this kind of pregnancy. 

  3. Threatened miscarriage, which is when a woman experiences some bleeding and pain but the pregnancy is progressing normally. Most women who have a threatened miscarriage go on to have a healthy baby.

  4. Miscarriage. Devastatingly, one in five pregnancies in the first trimester will result in miscarriage, often for no identifiable reason. If you would like to know more about miscarriage or the support available for those who have experienced miscarriage, Tommy’s charity is a really good place to start.