Are you seeing a pink discharge while you are at or close to 29 weeks pregnant? If so, don’t panic yet, this may be completely normal. There is a lot going on in your body during your pregnancy and while some of what you experience may seem very scary it might actually be completely normal. That said, we advise that you take ANY bleeding seriously and we will elaborate on the why of this shortly In this article we will go over some bleeding issues that you might experience to help you to better identify what is to be expected and what can occur in worse case scenarios so that you have a little more knowledge of what might be occurring in your body. If you are ready, let’s discuss!
So, bleeding during pregnancy is not dangerous?
Bleeding that occurs during any phase of your pregnancy can be dangerous, but there are also some perfectly normal reasons that bleeding may occur. For instance, if you are more than 29 weeks pregnant and experiencing a pink discharge it might be the following:
- Mucus plug – While this generally occurs close to a week before labor, it can occur a little earlier. Generally a pinkish or brown tint, the mucus plug generally looks like looks like gelatin and is the result of the thinning of the walls of your cervix.
- Bloody show – Like this mucus plug, this is pink or brown in color and gelatinous, although this generally occurs 2 or 3 days before labor. Despite the gruesome name, it is simply the passing of mucus.
- Spotting after an exam – Due to the increased blood flow of the cervix, bleeding in small amounts after an exam is quite common
- Spotting after sex – For the same reasons as an exam, you can experience spotting after sex as well.
Bleeding after 28 weeks in general
While it may be commonplace, any bleeding after 28 weeks may be serious and you should consult your physician.
Bleeding during the first trimester
The most common factor to consider when determining if bleeding is dangerous is the timing. Passing clots, light bleeding, or bright red spots during the first 21 weeks pregnant, for instance, may be quite normal. Vaginal bleeding during the first trimester is quite a common problem and not necessarily a cause for alarm. That said, if it is not the result of an exam or of intimacy with your mate it is highly recommended to check with your physician just to be on the safe side.
Other causes of first trimester bleeding
Not all bleeding during your first trimester is innocuous, however. This is why we recommend that you consult a physician in ANY cases of bleeding. More serious conditions that can occur are:
- Ectopic pregnancy – Also known as a tubal pregnancy, bleeding from this can be quite dangerous during your first trimester. An ectopic pregnancy is when the egg is implanted outside of the uterus. Risk factors for this can include a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, or a previous ectopic pregnancy.
- Blighted Ovum – This is when the embryo fails to develop in the proper location due to an abnormal fetus.
- Incomplete miscarriage – Also known as a ‘miscarriage in progress’, this may be the diagnosis if a pelvic exam shows the cervix is still open and passing tissue or blood clots. If the cervix remains open it can indicate that the miscarriage is not complete, due to an infection or to the uterus tightening before the tissue can pass.
- Completed miscarriage – If the ultrasound is showing the uterus to be empty and your bleeding and cramping have slowed then this means that the pregnancy has terminated.
Bleeding during later stages of pregnancy
Late pregnancy bleeding is quite a bit different and should be taken seriously. The most common cause of it is actually related to problems with the placenta. Late pregnancy bleeding may be indicative of the following:
- Placental abruption – This condition is when the placenta separates prematurely from the womb, causing blood to collect between your uterus and your placenta. Doctors are not sure exactly why this occurs, however, risk factors that can contribute to the likelihood of this are cocaine use, tobacco use, high blood pressure, and trauma.
” Doctors are not sure exactly why this occurs.”
- Uterine rupture: – Rare, but extremely dangerous, this is when the uterus has split open and the baby has become expelled (or partially expelled) into your abdomen. Risk factors that can contribute to this are having previous surgery on your uterus, overuse of oxytocin,, an excess of 4 pregnancies, or having the baby in a position other than with its head down.
- Placenta previa:- This is a state where the placenta is covering the cervical opening, whether partial or completely, and there is resultant bleeding. Later when the cervix dilates, bleeding results. This is considered the cause of 1/5 of third trimester bleeding and statistically occurs in 1 of 200 pregnancies. Risk factors that increase the chances are having had previa, a C-section, or multiple previous pregnancies.
- Fetal vessel rupture:-With fetal vessel rupture, the blood vessels from the umbilical may attach not to the placenta, but to other membranes. This is exceedingly rare, occurring in approximately 1 of 5000 pregnancies.
Some final words
As you can see, whether you are spotting at 28 weeks or simply seeing pink on the toilet paper while 26 weeks pregnant, all bleeding should be taken seriously. While in all likelihood the bleeding that you are experiencing is normal, a visit to the doctor just to be on the safe side is never a bad idea. We’re providing this information so that you can have a better understanding of the range of things which can occur. The worst-case scenarios here are simply to inform you, not to scare you. Keep your check-ups regular and everything is going to be just fine!