Spotting during pregnancy is a common issue, yet one that can understandably cause alarm in pregnant women. An estimated 20% of women have some kind of bleeding during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Light spotting early in pregnancy is often caused by embryo implantation or by harmless cervical polyps, which can bleed due to higher estrogen levels and increased blood vessels in the area. Spotting from the cervix is often seen after sexual intercourse, a gynecological exam, vaginal infections, or heavy physical activity.
In general, spotting is considered to be a few drops of blood at a time: noticeable, but not enough to need a panty liner. Spotting is usually pink or brown in color. Anything bright red and requiring a liner or pad to protect clothing is considered bleeding. Even with bleeding, at least 50% of women go on to have a healthy baby. However, you should always contact your health care provider if you notice spotting or bleeding. In particular, call your doctor as soon as possible if you see the following:
Heavy bleeding similar to a menstrual period
Bleeding accompanied by cramping
Any bleeding in the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy
Bleeding that meets these criteria can be caused by serious issues such as ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, miscarriage, or (later in pregnancy) placental issues or preterm labor.
To assess spotting or bleeding, doctors will often perform an exam to check if the cervix is closed, and may perform an ultrasound to check the fetus’ heartbeat. Self care measures such as increased rest, decreased physical activity, and elevating your feet may be recommended following an exam.
If spotting during pregnancy continues, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be a very helpful ally. The women’s health specialists at TCRA are trained to assess your body’s individual constitution and determine why spotting or bleeding may be occurring. Acupuncture will nourish you and your baby overall for a healthy, happy pregnancy; treatments are tailored to fit your pattern, and can gently support your system so that spotting will stop.