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Alternative Names Return to topPregnancy - vaginal bleeding; Maternal blood loss
Definition Return to top
Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy is bleeding coming through the vagina during pregnancy, for any reason.
Considerations Return to top
Up to 10% of women have vaginal bleeding at some time during their pregnancy, especially in the first 3 months (first trimester). Bleeding is even more common with twins.
To help prevent a miscarriage or other problems during pregnancy:
Causes Return to top
During the first 3 months, vaginal bleeding may be a sign of a miscarriage. See the doctor right away. During months 4 - 9 bleeding may be a sign of:
Other possible causes of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy:
Other diseases and medications can cause bleeding during pregnancy. The causes may differ depending on your age.
Characteristics of the bleeding can indicate its causes. These include:
Home Care Return to top
Avoid sexual intercourse until you know the cause of the bleeding. Drink only fluids if the bleeding and cramping are severe.
If a miscarriage occurs, expect a small amount of vaginal bleeding for up to 10 days. Avoid using tampons for 2 to 4 weeks.
Medication is usually not necessary -- don't take any medication without talking to your doctor.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Contact your health care provider if:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
Your health care provider will get a medical history and will perform a physical examination.
The doctor may ask you the following questions:
The physical examination will probably include a pelvic examination.
Tests that may be performed include:
Your doctor may recommend:
References Return to top
Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, ed. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2007.Update Date: 2/19/2008 Updated by: Peter Chen, MD, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.