Communications Manager, Daisy, shares her past experience of bleeding during pregnancy.
I was in the 20th week of my first pregnancy when I got the exciting news that we would be welcoming a baby boy into our family!
After working at TOTM for the year prior, I knew more than my fair share about periods but it was a steep – and unwelcome – learning curve discovering that sometimes you bleed during pregnancy too.
When you see blood during pregnancy chances are, everything is absolutely fine but bleeding in pregnancy is an anxious time so it’s perfectly natural to fear the worst. It’s completely normal to freak out at least a little bit and I certainly did… on both occasions!
I learnt that spotting or bleeding in early pregnancy is common and can occur in about 15 out of 100 women and may also be accompanied by lower abdominal pain and back pain. Bleeding can be light, pink, dark or red and the pregnancy is rarely affected by this and does not mean there is a problem. It’s also common for women to have a number of bleeding episodes during pregnancy. There are several reasons for bleeding that are not serious and do not affect the pregnancy itself. So, don’t do what I did, which was start jumping to conclusions.
The first bout of ‘spotting’ I had was at around 7 weeks, we had only just found out I was pregnant two days prior to this and naturally anticipated the worst, given how early on it was. It happened in the middle of the night and after a short, sharp abdominal pain, it felt similar to that ‘gush’ feeling at the start of a period. I went upstairs to the bathroom and looking at the blood on the toilet paper I felt my short-lived hopes and dreams quickly slipping away.
My partner called 111 and, based on my symptoms, they referred us to the early pregnancy clinic early the next morning, which did very little to reassure me. I was later told that because of the pain I described, they had been worried it was a sign of an ectopic pregnancy or appendicitis but thankfully the scan showed the baby was in my uterus and I lost my appendix a while back to peritonitis, so no danger of that!
Luckily, I was able to get a scan, even though it was the weekend and was beyond relief when I saw a tiny little heartbeat and wriggly peanut-shape on the monitor. They explained you can sometimes get bleeding around this time due to the embryo implanting itself in the lining of your womb.
Following the scan, I saw a doctor who went through the results in more depth with us, asked me to do a urine sample and examined my cervix, which looked normal. She couldn’t see any obvious reason for the bleeding but said that if it continued I would need to return to be re-scanned but that everything should be fine.
After this episode, I had some brownish discharge for a few days, which I was warned might happen and is perfectly normal and we took on board the advice we were given to abstain from sex until this stopped completely.
When it happened again at around 10 weeks, I didn’t think I could be so lucky as to come out of it a second time with the same positive result. Discharge is part and parcel of pregnancy and depending on the day, it can be a moderate amount so I wore liners daily. Throughout that particular day I felt what I thought was discharge coming out but because I wasn’t going to the toilet much I couldn’t tell for sure (making sure I was drinking enough water was a real trial during my first trimester, hence the lack of toilet visits). Towards the end of that day, nature finally called and I was shocked to discover it was in fact blood. This time there hadn’t been any intense pain, just discomfort, but that didn’t do much to ease my concern.
My partner wasn’t at home but after a frantic, worried call he came home to comfort me. I was reassured by reading the information leaflet we had been given at our previous visit to the early pregnancy clinic, which suggested one possible reason for the bleeding at this stage; the uterus is stretching at such a pace, and thickening to support its new, ever-growing resident, that it can cause discomfort and on occasion, light bleeding, especially with first pregnancies.
Once again, we made our way to the hospital early the next morning and were seen thanks to our prior referral. Normally you need to be referred by your GP and I’m grateful I didn’t have to wait for that appointment first. In these moments of panic, you just want to know everything is ok straightaway. This time, the baby was much bigger and doing somersaults. I breathed a sigh of relief as the ultrasound technician found the heartbeat and told us everything looked normal.
Afterwards, there wasn’t any further bleeding of any kind but I hope that by sharing my past experience it might offer you some small comfort in what I found to be a particularly anxious time for me and my partner.
Disclaimer: this blog was just my personal experience. My comments are based on what I personally went through and was told, so I’m sharing with the aim to help others in the same situation. I have no medical experience or qualifications and I don’t pretend to be giving medical advice. If you find yourself spotting or bleeding during pregnancy, you should contact your GP or midwife to be referred into the early pregnancy clinic.
Daisy Pratt, Communications Manager.