safe motherhood



Bleeding from your vagina, at any point during your pregnancy, is always a cause for concern. If you notice any bleeding, however slight, contact your midwife or doctor straight away.

Bleeding in early pregnancy

• Slight bleeding or ‘spotting’ around the time that you would have had your period means that your pregnancy levels aren’t high enough to stop the bleeding coming from the lining of your uterus. No treatment is needed, but it may help to rest as much as you can.

• Slight bleeding after sex could be a cervical erosion — a change in the cells of your cervix, caused by pregnancy hormones — or a polyp — a small harmless growth — on your cervix. No treatment is needed.

• Slight bleeding, which may last over a period of days, may be a ‘threatened’ miscarriage. You may be told to rest — although there’s no proof that staying in bed helps prevent a miscarriage — and to avoid exercise and sex. You may be offered a scan. The hardest part is often waiting to see what will happen.

• Heavy, bright-red bleeding, with cramp-like abdominal pains, may be an ‘inevitable’ miscarriage. Your doctor may examine you to see if your cervix is still closed. If it isn’t, a miscarriage is sadly unavoidable. You may choose to wait at home for it to happen or go into hospital. You’ll probably be recommended to have a minor operation afterwards to make sure your uterus is empty.

• Dark brown bleeding, with low abdominal pain, between six and 10 weeks into your pregnancy, could be an ectopic pregnancy where the embryo is growing in one of your Fallopian tubes. If this isn’t detected early enough it could lead to your tube bursting. Consult your doctor immediately.