Periods During Pregnancy
It seems like at some point every woman has heard that their sister's friend's cousin had a period while they were pregnant. Or "oh I bled throughout my pregnancy and didn't know I was pregnant because it was my period!" This is a myth. Women often confuse any
vaginal bleeding as their period because that is what they are used to happening. You did not experience a period; you experienced vaginal bleeding
! This is a common occurrence and a wide misconception.
You cannot have a period while you are pregnant because both of these functions cannot happen at the same time. If you were pregnant and began menstruating, inevitably you would lose the pregnancy or have a miscarriage. Although you can't be pregnant and have a period at the same time, you can, in fact, experience vaginal bleeding and continue to be pregnant. These are two very different terms: vaginal bleeding and menstruation (period), but it is usually vaginal bleeding that women confuse as their periods.
Bleeding early in pregnancy, as in the first trimester, is scary, but luckily it usually doesn't signal a problem. It is also rather common among women. There are a few common causes of first-trimester bleeding, none of which is an indication of trouble.
1. Normal implantation of the pregnancy into the uterine wall. This bleeding, which sometimes also occurs when a fertilized egg (embryo) attaches itself to the wall of the uterus (generally two to five days after conception), is brief and light and only lasting a couple of days. Implantation normally occurs around five to ten days after conception.
2. Hormonal changes when the period would have otherwise occurred. This type of bleeding is also usually very light, but it can sometimes seem like an actual period. Many women report that they do actually bleed regularly during the early portion of their pregnancy, none of which is a true menstrual period, and this is usually the culprit for that. It is often referred as early pregnancy bleeding and is caused by hormonal changes in the body due to the pregnancy. This is also rather common among women and, again, can appear to be a menstrual period. It's not though.
3. It could be a subchorionic bleed. This is when a small blood clot forms at the edge of the placenta. It usually stops on its own and isn't normally an emergency. But your doctor will want to monitor this with ultrasound to be sure that the clot has resolved itself.
4. Decidual bleeding. This is period-like bleeding (but not your period) when your hormones may get out of whack. It will cause you to lose parts of the lining along the uterine wall. This is especially common in the very early stages of pregnancy because the lining hasn't had a chance to completely attach to the placenta. Although a scary thought, it is not generally considered to be a health risk to neither mother or baby.
5. Getting pregnant while on the pill. This is often associated with bleeding during a pregnancy and can be confused with a menstrual period. Many women will have several bleeding episodes before they realize something isn't right. This will cause the woman to be unable to accurately tell her doctor when her last real menstrual cycle because of the confusion, and an ultrasound will be required to determine an estimated due date.
Often the real case can't be pinpointed, but the bleeding stops spontaneously and in the situations above, the pregnancy continues just fine. As a precaution though, any bleeding should be reported to your practitioner so that he or she can evaluate it. Record whether it is intermittent or persistent, when it started, the color, the heaviness or lightness of the flow, any odor, or any tissue fragments (bits of solid material) that may have passed with the blood. If there were, try to save them in a jar. Also report other symptoms like excessive vomiting, any pain, fever, weakness, and whatever else you might feel.
Any other kind of bleeding than those above, you should make a quick call to the doctor, or if he isn't in, a visit to the ER. It could indicate a less common, and much worse, cause of early bleeding, which includes:
1. Miscarriage. The light bleeding will turn into heavy bleeding and will be accompanied by strong lower abdominal pain that comes and goes. When a miscarriage is taking place, you should find a passage of embryonic material in the blood. A brownish discharge may mean a missed miscarriage. Sometimes, if the fertilized egg doesn't develop, the sac is empty and no embryonic material could have passed.
2. Ectopic pregnancy. Signs include brown vaginal spotting or light bleeding, continuous or not, and have abdominal and/or shoulder pain that is often severe. This type of pregnancy will have to be surgically aborted as it poses potential harm to the mother. The fetus would not be able to survive in this type of pregnancy anyway.
3. Molar pregnancy. Signs include a continuous brownish discharge. This one is a very rare, yet very serious, problem. See the related links below for more information on this condition.Why You Cannot Have A Regular Period During Pregnancy
The pregnancy hormone completely prevents ovulation in the first place. Ovulation is required to have a period.
You cannot have a period while you are pregnant by the very biological definition and function of the two.
Your cycle is what causes a period! Your body releases hormones during this cycle. Those hormones send signals to your reproductive organs to perform certain tasks. An increase in hormones causes an egg to be released from your ovaries. While it travels, a layer of blood and tissue thickens to protect the uterine wall. If the egg is not fertilized, hormone levels drop and you start your period as that extra thick layer of blood and tissue detaches itself and comes out.
While you are pregnant, your body focuses on providing a healthy environment for the fetus. Your brain sends signals to your ovaries to stop the cycle so that the baby can grow. As a result, hormones continue to build and rise for the next nine months because it can't drop.
If you continued to have a period while you were pregnant, it would be shedding the lining of the uterine wall. This lining is what helps to nourish your baby each month. So in biological terms, it makes no sense to have a period while you were pregnant and simply not possible. Therefore, the spotting or bleeding that you are experiencing is caused by something other than your period.Always Tell Your Doctor
Make sure you record all information and even descriptions of, especially, the first and also subsequent vaginal bleeding episodes. You need to tell your OB/GYN every possible detail that you can about the odor, appearance, any tissue, color, flow, and any other concurrent symptoms elsewhere in the body. Your OB/GYN will need to evaluate you and determine whether your particular cause of vaginal bleeding is cause for an emergency, or more commonly, a non-emergency issue. If you experiencing symptoms of a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or molar pregnancy, you need to call your doctor for instructions, or if he isn't in visit your nearest ER pronto.
Don't be embarrassed about it, and don't worry about "grossing out" your doctor. If your doctor was "grossed out" by this, he or she would have chosen a different career path. They answer these types of questions and put mothers-to-be at ease every single day.
Since women confuse and accept bleeding during a pregnancy as their period, they fail to inform their doctor. Thus, there are very harsh consequences for not obtaining the proper medical attention in time when they have abnormal vaginal bleeding.
For more information regarding vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, visit the links below. They are reputable sources of information from the medical community and can further explain this and other related pregnancy concerns.
Also, if you still insist that it is your period, then have your doctor complete another pregnancy test (unless it's obvious) and have him/her explain to you why you are having a period while you are pregnant. He will tell you it is vaginal bleeding and not a menstrual period.
More responses from Wiki s contributors:
- No, it is not possible to be pregnant and have your period. A period is to drain your menstrual blood, lining and eggs, which in pregnancy are needed to protect the fertilized egg or eggs. So there for you CAN NOT be pregnant and have your period. I'll explain why some women THINK they are on their period. Anywhere from 5 - 15 days after the egg is fertilized, some women notice bleeding "spotting" which they confuse with a period. In normal cases the bleeding is much lighter than a period and only last 2-4 days. So all in all, if someone tells you that you can be pregnant, and have your period, they're wrong.
- It is entirely possible to have menstrual periods throughout pregnancy. Every woman is different. Someone I know had no idea she was expecting until the minute she went into labor - she had normal, regular periods all the way through! So yes, it's possible. And 'spotting' is USUALLY exactly that - spots of blood - nothing more. So it is very unlikely that spotting resembles a period closely enough to be confused with one, since periods are generally heavier and a continuous flow. Finally, id like to point out that during the first four weeks or so of pregnancy, because the pregnancy is not fully 'established', in a sense, parts of the womb lining can still detach and pass out as a period. So many explanations for bleeding during pregnancy! I suppose it was more the above person's attitude that annoyed me more than his or her sheer lack of knowledge and understanding of the female menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
- It is possible and common for women to experience period like bleeding when pregnant. However, when hCG is released into the body it tells the ovaries to release progesterone which prevents menstruation. In fact, a very big reason many women do not realize they are pregnant until many weeks later is because they believe they are having a period when in fact it is really not a period. Bleeding during pregnancy may last days or throughout the entire pregnancy.
- Not many women experience this but it could happen because it happened to me. I had my period on the right time and it was the same blood flow too. It also lasted the same amount of days.
- No. You can not and will not have a period during pregnancy. There may be "spotting" which may last 1-4 days and is normal for your first child or your fifth. It does not matter. If you think you are pregnant and have "spotting" then wait a week and test.
- It is possible for a woman to have a normal period throughout the pregnancy although it is very rare for this to occur. Lack of knowledge is what causes high doctor bills for unnecessary tests.
- I think the issue is the technical term of what happens when women are pregnant but still bleed. It is not technically a period, such as egg being released etc. However it can feel very much like a period.
- I think us women have a different point of view from the medical world as to what a period is. We describe any vaginal bleeding as a period. The medical world has different definitions for vaginal blood occurrences. If you spot brown blood for two days and know your not pregnant, then the doc may tell you that was a period. If you spot for two days and are pregnant, then doc may say that isn't a period and have some medical terminology for it. The medical world has to take everything else in your life at that time into consideration as well (like on/off birth control, health problems, etc.) to properly diagnose what the bleeding actually is. I had a period (vaginal bleeding) for 3 weeks and went to the doctor to find out I'm 6 weeks pregnant. When I asked why the bleeding then, doc just said, "that sometimes happens". Maybe I should have asked what the bleeding was or meant (period or something else) but I didn't. I accepted her answer and moved on with my pregnancy. I had my daughter on time and she was very healthy. I didn't do a home pregnancy test so I can't say if the bleeding had in fact affected the HPT test results. So I think when us women ask, "can I have a period and still be pregnant?" What we are really asking is " Can I have vaginal bleeding (no matter what it is or the medical terminology is for it) and still be pregnant?"
- I think either people who say they had a period while pregnant, either have a different definition of "period", or honestly think any vaginal bleeding can be termed as "menstruation". It is not normal, and is in fact, a BAD sign that should send you straight to the ER, if you are experiencing bleeding in early pregnancy that can be classed as moderate to heavy. I mean, your body is literally flushing out the contents of the uterus, how people can say this is "normal" and not a danger of miscarriage, must not know much about pregnancy. There is such a great difference between light spotting early on, and losing quantities of blood equal to a normal period. The majority of pregnant women who experience heavy, period-like bleeding are experiencing a miscarriage and should not listen to people who say it's normal. I guess if by "a normal period" they mean the amount of blood near the end of the period, they might be making a bit of sense. But not the kind of blood loss that is associated with the first or second day of the period, where most women are losing quite a lot of blood and uterine lining. I hope anyone who suspects that they are pregnant will just take a test and be done with it, instead of these not-too-bright people who say they don't realize until 6 or 7 months that they were pregnant! You have to be really out of touch with your anatomy to not know something is growing in there. Bottom line: you CANNOT have a real, technical, "period" when pregnant. You CAN have a certain amount of bleeding during pregnancy; but a genuine menstrual period only happens when you are NOT pregnant and your are EXPELLING THE CONTENTS OF THE UTERUS! It's not a period if you're carrying a child - and if you're bleeding, for God's sake get to a doctor and have it checked out.
- There is a uterine cavity separate from the amniotic cavity. As the baby expands, what do you think happens to the remaining uterine cavity? Could it possible expel some blood-like substance? I hate to say it but USE YOUR NOSE. Does that blood smell like menstruation? If you are pregnant, NO. IT SMELLS ALIVE. If you've ever been pregnant you know pregnancy bleeding is different from menstruation. Bleeding while pregnant starts out light pink and can progress to looking like menstruation. But the two things are different. You aren't "shedding" the entire lining. If you are bleeding and suspect you are pregnant, make sure you start taking prenatals right away. Even bed rest cannot prevent inevitable miscarriages which are usually caused by genetic defects.
- It is not unlikely to have periods during pregnancy. Usually it is more brown in color. If you are pregnant, and you are bleeding, consult a doctor. Red blood is not normal in pregnancies and can be signs of a miscarriage.
- You can have light bleeding during pregnancy and spotting yes. A normal heavy flow period is very unlikely during pregnancy but it does happen with some women.
- Yes, but it is not called a period. There is a technical term used for the bleeding during pregnancy. Bleeding while you are pregnant is called decidual bleeding. Because your hormones raise constantly while you are pregnant it causes bleeding in some women.
- No, you cannot. Because when you are pregnant, the embryo in attached to the uterine wall. When you have your period, the blood, and liquid would basically wash the embryo off and out! So if you think you might be pregnant, you will know if you are when you start missing your periods. If you have never had sex before, and you miss a period, don't worry. Sometimes you hormones go bonkers, and you might miss a month. But if you are virgin, and you miss more than one period, see a doctor or a gyno, because that is NOT normal. It is also not normal to have a second period in one month. Sometime, you hormones will get a little crazy and cause a 2nd cycle in the same month, but if it becomes a normal thing, see a doctor.
- Many women can experience episodes of bleeding and spotting during pregnancy. Bleeding is especially common in the first trimester and about 30% of pregnant women experience bleeding during this time. Although fewer women bleed during the second and third trimesters, spotting is still possible and not all that uncommon. However, though this bleeding may resemble menstruation, it actually is something different altogether.
- Some women have spotting, but you should consult your doctor because it could be a serious issue (good advise)
- It's unlikely but not impossible to get a period-like event each month during a pregnancy.
- No, because the purpose of a period is to shed the uterus of its lining that was prepared in the even that a woman did become pregnant. During her cycle, if she does not become pregnant, the lining of the uterus wall is discarded in the form of a period. If a woman did become pregnant, she would be using this lining, as the uterus is where the baby would develop, so it would not be shed, and therefore no period when you are pregnant.
- No. Your period is your body getting rid of the unused pregnancy setup. Every month your body gets ready to be pregnant, and if you don't, it sloughs off the uterine lining that was prepared to receive sperm and host an embryo. If pregnancy doesn't occur within the month, your body dumps the arrangement and starts again, makes a new one.
- You CAN have uterine/vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, but it is not "menstrual bleeding". The best way to explain this is to understand that true menstruation/ovulation occurs when an egg is released from one of the ovaries. When the egg is not fertilized, bloody uterine lining sheds and the egg disintegrates and passes through. If the egg is fertilized, it releases a hormone that prevents ANY egg from being released afterward. This is called HcG and is what is looked for in a pregnancy test. Because of this hormone, no egg will be released and ovulation will not occur. But it is very possible to have bleeding because of the hormones estrogen and progesterone and the fluctuations, so some of the unused uterine lining may shed during early pregnancy. This is similar to taking the Pill - in most pills, ovulation does not actually occur and an egg is not released, but the uterine lining still sheds. This is the main reason the Pill prevents pregnancy, because there is no egg to fertilize. There are pills that, because of the combination of hormones, the egg is still released, but then the uterine lining is thickened, preventing implantation. Back to the subject, the best proof I can give to show that ovulation does NOT occur during pregnancy (although bleeding can) is the fact that if it was occurring, then there would be an egg each month that is able to be fertilized. If this were to happen and you had unprotected sex, there would be a possibility of a second egg becoming an embryo. Although this can happen at the first moment of conception (fraternal twins), how often do you hear of someone having twins that are more than a month apart? It does not happen.
- Bleeding in early pregnancy is very common and is generally no cause for concern. Around half of all pregnant women have a little bleeding in the early months of pregnancy. Although some of these women may later suffer a miscarriage, the majority carry on to have normal and straightforward pregnancies. Some women bleed for a few days around the time of their expected periods, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. This bleeding is usually much lighter than a normal period, but may be accompanied by discomfort - sometimes even pain - and a heavy, dragging feeling. The medical term for this sort of bleeding is 'decidual' bleeding. The 'decidua' is the innermost lining of the uterus, the part lost during each menstrual period. Experts think that this bleeding is from that part of the decidua that is not yet covered by the developing embryo and placenta. Very early bleeding may be 'implantation' bleeding rather than decidual bleeding. Implantation bleeding happens about two weeks after conception, when the fertilized egg reaches the uterus and embeds in the soft lining. Special cells surrounding the egg burrow deep into the lining, almost like a seed putting out tiny roots. This is the start of the placenta. Some women loose a little blood when this takes place. Implantation bleeding rarely lasts for more than a day.
- Well, if you Are pregnent and you get your period there could be many complacations with the baby if you have been told by the doc. That ur pregonent. This could be a misscarrage or just a minor baby kick to the lining
- No, if you start bleeding during pregnancy get to a doctor, because that is very dangerous, something is seriously wrong.
- Not really, bleeding can be a sign of a problem or miscarriage during pregnancy.
If you're sure you're pregnant, then this is not your period. See your OBGYN for a proper diagnosis, but this is what doctors call a threatened abortion.