The Dangers of Bleeding During Pregnancy

Bleeding in the first 3 months (first trimester) of your pregnancy. Light spotting may occur when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. This can occur around the time of your expected menstrual cycle. Heavy bleeding during this time can mean miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Severe or heavy bleeding is concerning and you should be seen by a healthcare provider to determine the cause.

Bleeding in the next 3 -6 months (second and third trimester) Changes in hormones during your pregnancy can cause your cervix to become softer and more prone to bleed. Sexual intercourse or a pelvic examination may cause your cervix to bleed. Infections can also cause vaginal bleeding. Bleeding can also be caused by problems with the placenta.

The placenta provides oxygen and nutrients to your baby and removes carbon dioxide and waste from the fetus. A placenta previa, placental abruption or other placental condition such as a vasa previa can cause serious bleeding leading to an injury to you and/or your baby. In the majority of pregnancies, the placenta attaches at the top or side of the uterus.

Placenta previa means the placenta partly or completely covers the cervix which is the opening to the uterus. As the cervix dilates, the placenta can separate from the uterus causing bleeding. A placenta previa can cause bleeding throughout your pregnancy. Placenta previa occurs more often in women who have had previous uterine surgery such as a previous cesarean section. Placenta previa is also more common in women who have had a placenta previa with a previous pregnancy, if the woman is age 35 or older, if the woman smokes, does cocaine or is of non-white ethnicity. If the bleeding is severe or continues without stopping, this requires immediate medical attention.

A placenta previa is usually diagnosed early in pregnancy and is monitored for location and bleeding throughout the pregnancy. If this diagnosis is missed, serious consequences can occur for you and your baby.

A placental abruption is the occurrence of the placenta detaching from the uterine wall before delivery is completed. The placenta may partially or completely detach. A placental abruption can be caused if there is trauma or injury to the mother’s abdomen such as with a fall or motor vehicle collision. There is a higher risk of placental abruption if there has been trauma to the abdomen, high blood pressure, maternal smoking or illegal drug use, infection, multiple fetuses in the uterus or if there has been a previous placental abruption with a prior pregnancy.

Your doctor will determine if you are at risk and will advise you of warning signs and symptoms which will include bright red vaginal bleeding. A placental abruption is a medical emergency and can cause serious injury to you and your baby if not promptly diagnosed and treated.

Any heavy or severe vaginal bleeding during your pregnancy or labor is abnormal and should be immediately addressed by your healthcare provider.

If prompt diagnosis and treatment does not occur, injury to you and your baby can occur. If you believe your baby has suffered an injury due to bleeding during your pregnancy or labor, please contact the Law Office of Michael Bereston for a free consultation.

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