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Bleeding during pregnancy

When a woman's menstruation does not arrive on time and she is sexually active, one of her first thoughts is that she might be pregnant. A missing menstruation is one of the first signs of pregnancy. But what if it is the other way round? You feel different, you noticed some of the pregnancy signs but you are having your monthly bleeding? The question that might come up in your mind is Can I have my period and be at the same time pregnant? Although usually a missing menstruation is an indication of an early pregnancy, it is not always the case. Some women keep on having their period during the early stage of their pregnancy and there are some rare cases when a woman had her period during her whole pregnancy. This bleeding during pregnancy only resembles regular menstruation; the truth is it is not a period but something completely different.

Menstruation, also called a period, is a woman's monthly vaginal bleeding that usually lasts from 3 to 5 days. Its aim is to prepare the woman's body for pregnancy. The uterus grows a thick lining to enable the fertilized egg to nest. If a woman does not conceive that month the uterus sheds this lining and together with blood it leaves the body. However, if the egg is fertilized and it embeds the uterine lining, hormones will control this lining and will ensure that the tissue will remain unimpaired. This is the reason why a pregnant woman ceases to have her menstruation. After delivering her baby the menstruation cycle will recover. In case the woman is breastfeeding it sometimes takes a few months to renew.

There are many reasons why some women bleed during pregnancy. Some women have a regular menstrual cycle when a woman becomes pregnant close to the beginning of her next period. It causes some confusion regarding the due date and the gestational age. Some women experience spotting or very light bleeding at the time of their expected period which usually lasts a day. This might be caused by the implantation of the fertilized egg. Spotting might occur also after a vaginal examination or sex because the woman's cervix is during pregnancy more congested than normally. Unfortunately bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants not in the uterus but in another organ, usually in the Fallopian tube. This is a very serious condition; even death can occur because the growing fertilized egg can rupture the Fallopian tube and cause a life-threatening bleeding. Bleeding might be a sign of placental problems (placenta previa and placenta abruption) which can be a serious complication later in pregnancy. Bleeding is not always related to pregnancy e.g. tears to the vaginal wall may be the reason of bleeding, also some infections may cause bleeding.

Although most of the bleedings present none or only little risk to the woman's or baby's health, we strongly advise you to visit a doctor as soon as possible.

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