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Bleeding During Pregnancy Resources from UPMC in Central Pa.

Although it may not always signal trouble, it is important to see your physician right away if you experience any vaginal bleeding during your pregnancy.

Vaginal bleeding during your first trimester (weeks one through 12) can be caused by a number of conditions:

  • Miscarriage, or the spontaneous loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation
  • Implantation bleeding, which typically occurs 10-14 days after conception
  • Problems with your cervix such as infection, inflammation or growths
  • Ectopic pregnancy, or pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus
  • Molar pregnancy, a rare condition that causes an abnormal mass to form in the uterus after fertilization

Vaginal bleeding in the second (week 13 through 27) and third trimesters (week 28 until birth) can also be caused by various conditions, including:

  • Placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine wall
  • Placenta previa
  • Cervical cancer
  • Incompetent cervix, which occurs when the cervix opens too early
  • Problems with your cervix such as infection, inflammation or growths
  • Preterm labor
  • Uterine rupture, a rare condition that occurs when the uterus tears open along the scar line from a previous cesarean section (C-section)
  • Intrauterine fetal death

It is normal to experience light vaginal bleeding, sometimes mixed with mucus, as labor begins.


You should report any vaginal bleeding to your physician along with details such as how much blood was lost, what it looked like and how long the bleeding lasted. Your physician will conduct a thorough evaluation of your symptoms and may order additional tests to determine the source of the bleeding.

If you experience vaginal bleeding accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, fever or chills, or if you experience moderate to heavy bleeding, you should contact your physician immediately.


Treatment for vaginal bleeding depends on the cause. In less serious cases your physician may not be able to determine the source of vaginal bleeding or it may go away on its own. In more serious cases you may require treatment, including:

  • Bed rest
  • Restrictions on exercise and/or activity
  • Surgery
  • Medications to prevent further bleeding or preterm labor
  • C-section delivery

Need more information?

Phone: 717-231-8472 

Talk to your doctor if you have questions about pregnancy complications.

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