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When is Bleeding a Bad Sign During Pregnancy?

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Although it’s scary to experience, not all bleeding during pregnancy is a bad sign according the Mayo Clinic. It depends on what else is happening, when it occurs and how long the bleeding goes on. Depending on how you answer these issues, you may or may not have to contact your physician.
First Trimester
There are several causes for bleeding in the first trimester, and yes, some causes are potentially life threatening but then others, are not. The Mayo Clinic lists the following:

• Cervical cancer
• Cervical changes, including more blood flow to the cervix and softening of the cervix, which may result in harmless vaginal bleeding after sex or a pelvic exam
• Ectopic pregnancy
• Implantation bleeding
• Miscarriage
• Molar pregnancy
• Some cervical infections
So how would you know when to see the doctor? If you have bleeding that lasts for more than a day or is moderate to heavy accompanied by complications – passing of tissue, abdominal pain, cramping, fever or chills – then it’s time to seek medical help as soon as possible.
Second Trimester
The Mayo Clinic lists the following for causes during the second trimester:
• Miscarriage
• Placenta previa
• Placental abruption
• Premature opening of the cervix (cervical insufficiency), which can lead to preterm birth
• Preterm labor, which may result in light bleeding — especially when accompanied by regular contractions, dull backache or pelvic pressure
• Problems with the cervix, such as a cervical infection, inflamed cervix or growths on the cervix
• Uterine rupture, a rare but life-threatening occurrence in which the uterus tears open along the scar line from a prior C-section
It is important to see the doctor if you have even light bleeding that goes away after a few hours or longer. Especially is medical assistance needed if complications get more severe like abdominal pain, cramping, chills or contractions.
Third Trimester
Toward the end of the third trimester, there is usually some bleeding. This is particularly because your cervix is beginning to spread out and relax in preparation for delivery.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.