Recognizing any symptoms that may occur when having an early pregnancy is a must for every mom. Understanding the signs and symptoms of pregnancy in the early stages aims to keep your pregnancy healthy as well as the mother herself.
In the early stages of pregnancy, there will be some symptoms that can appear; one of these is spotting. If you notice spotting in your early pregnancy, don’t be concerned as long as it isn’t accompanied by other symptoms. To understand whether or not spotting that appears in the early stages of your pregnancy is dangerous and what you should do to overcome it, you can check out our post.
Differentiating Between Early Pregnancy and Periods
Many studies revealed that almost 15-20% or even a third of moms experienced spotting in the early stages of their pregnancy. It most often appears in the sixth or seventh week of pregnancy. Finding spots in the early stages of pregnancy can make a new mom worried and confused about how to deal with them.
It is known that spotting could also be a sign of pregnancy, but the spotting itself could also be a sign of having a period. Of course, spotting during pregnancy and menstruation are not the same. Here are the distinctions between spotting during pregnancy and spotting during periods:
- When having periods, the blood that comes out is bright red, while spots in early pregnancy are usually lighter red or brown.
- When having periods, the blood will come out quite a lot, while the blood as a sign of pregnancy comes out only in the form of a few drops and spots.
- The cycle of having a period commonly lasts roughly 7 days. While spotting in the early stages of pregnancy usually lasts a few hours or up to three days,
So, if you notice spotting but it lasts less than three days, it could be a sign of pregnancy. If you have a very young pregnancy and find spots, you do not have to worry. If having spots is not followed by other symptoms, it is not a sign of miscarriage.
The Causes of Spotting as a Sign of Pregnancy
In the early stages of pregnancy, the appearance of spotting is usually not dangerous as long as it does not last more than 3 days and is not followed by other symptoms. The blood that comes out is usually brown in color and appears a few days before or even coincides with the periods.
Even though it is not known what causes it, there are some factors that can cause spotting in early pregnancy. Here they are:
- Spotting can be caused by the hormones that control the cycle of periods.
- The movement of the embryo against the uterine wall after fertilization usually occurs 1-2 weeks after conception.
- Spotting can appear after sexual contact. It occurs since the cervix becomes softer and blood flow in the uterus also increases during pregnancy.
These are the causes of spotting during early pregnancy. While spotting is one of the signs of pregnancy, it does not mean that every pregnant woman gets it. In some cases, pregnant women do not have spotting in their early pregnancy.
Since spotting can also indicate one of the signs of health problems during pregnancy, recognizing and preventing it is a must.
Signs of Pregnancy
In the first pregnancy, some moms may be confused about recognizing the signs of being pregnant. Well, one easily recognized sign of being pregnant is the cessation of periods. However, there are also some other signs of pregnancy that most women experience. Here they are:
A small amount of blood that appears a few days before or even coincides with menstruation can be an indication of pregnancy. It occurs because of implantation in the uterus. The term “implantation” refers to the process of attaching the prospective fetus to the uterine wall.
2. Stomach cramps
In the early stages of your pregnancy, you may experience stomach cramps in the lower abdomen. It occurs due to the implantation of the fetus into the uterine wall. Well, the cramps will continue to occur during the implantation process.
Even though stomach cramping is normal, you should be careful, in particular when cramping recurs in the following weeks. If it happens, you may have to see an obstetrician since these may indicate signs of a possible underdeveloped fetus.
3. Different shapes of breasts
The shape of the breasts is the most easily recognized sign of pregnancy. Your breast shape may change while pregnant. Of course, your breasts will be more sensitive and painful when touched. The breast will also grow in size and become softer to the touch.
Mom’s Health Problems Are Marked by Spotting in Early Pregnancy
Spotting is not always a sign of being pregnant; it can also be a sign of problems with the cervix or even mom’s health. Here are some problems that can trigger the appearance of spotting in early pregnancy:
1. Irritation in the uterus
When hormones increase during pregnancy, they can change the lining of the uterine wall, which will trigger spotting.
2. Polyp that grows on the cervix
It is known that cervical polyps can occur due to high estrogen levels and an increase in the number of blood vessels around the cervix. Of course, it causes spotting when contact occurs in this area, such as during sex or strenuous exercise.
3. Cervix infection
The irritation that occurs in the cervix can lead to infection. Well, bleeding in the cervix is common after vaginal penetration or a pelvic exam. Bleeding will usually stop on its own within a few hours and is usually red or brown in color.
4. Molar pregnancy
Usually, moral pregnancy occurs when there are abnormal, grape-shaped tissues that grow in the uterus. The high level of hCG hormone that is accompanied by the absence of a heartbeat in the fetus is the sign of a moral pregnancy.
5. Ectopic pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy, or pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus, can be identified by the appearance of spotting. An ectopic pregnancy usually occurs when a fertilized egg attaches outside the uterus. A fertilized egg typically attaches to other organs such as the cervix or abdominal cavity, most commonly the fallopian tube.
These are some of the issues that can arise in pregnant women during the early stages of their pregnancy, as indicated by the appearance of spotting. If spotting lasts more than 3 days and is followed by stomach cramps and other symptoms, you may have to immediately see an obstetrician. In some cases, it can be an indication of a miscarriage, in particular if the pregnancy is less than 12 weeks.
The Risk of Ectopic Pregnancy: Signed by Spotting
As we’ve mentioned, spotting can indicate an ectopic pregnancy, especially if it appears in the early stages of pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embryo is fertilized but does not implant in the uterus.
A fertilized egg usually enters the oviduct, and if left too long, the oviduct can rupture. Even though it is a very rare case with only about 2% compared to a normal pregnancy, the ectopic pregnancy is considered dangerous.
The damage to the fallopian tube can cause an ectopic pregnancy. The damage itself can be caused by genetic factors, birth defects, hormonal imbalances, inflammation, and abnormal development of the reproductive organs.
The following are the factors that can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy:
- Having gotten pregnant at the age of 35 or older.
- Have a history of endometriosis or pelvic inflammation.
- Suffer sexually transmitted diseases.
- Had experienced an ectopic pregnancy.
- Had experienced recurrent miscarriages.
- Had surgery in the pelvic area and abdominal area.
- Have had problems with fertility.
- Using a spiral type of contraception.
- Have a smoking habit.
How to Prevent the Appearance of Spotting in the Early Stage of Pregnancy?
Prevention is a must to prevent spotting from occurring in the early stages of pregnancy, though it is not always dangerous. There are some steps you can take to prevent spotting from occurring in early pregnancy, including:
- Do prenatal check-ups routinely.
- Reduce caffeine in drinks.
- No smoking.
- Eat nutritious food.
- Weight controls to ensure you are not underweight or overweight.
- Check your medical history.
- Regularly exercise by consulting with your obstetrician first.
- Don’t be too tired, and don’t do strenuous activities.
- Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
What is the Right Time to See a Doctor If Spotting Occurs?
As long as spotting is not followed by any symptoms and only lasts less than 3 days, it’s safe to not go for medical checks. Otherwise, you have to immediately see an obstetrician if spotting is accompanied by the following symptoms:
- A large amount of bleeding
- Accompanied by fever, chills and severe pain.
- Accompanied by blood clots.
- When a pregnancy lasts more than a week, it lasts longer than three days.
Instead of panicking, keep calm and try to consult a doctor if these symptoms occur. Thus, you also have to regularly check your pregnancy by consulting an obstetrician. Let’s make today the best day to get your pregnancy checked!
1. First Trimester (Weeks 1–12)
If you have spotting that lasts more than 3 days between weeks 1–12, you can tell your obstetrician. The doctor will usually monitor the health of your uterus. He may also ask whether or not the spotting is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, stomach cramps, etc. If so, the doctor will further check your pregnancy.
2. Second Trimester (Weeks 13–24)
If you notice spotting in the second trimester, along with other potentially dangerous symptoms, you should see an obstetrician right away. There are some causes of spotting that occur in the second trimester, including:
- Placenta Previa
Placenta previa is a condition that occurs when the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix. This condition can only be checked during an ultrasound examination in the second trimester.
- Placenta abruptio or solution
Placenta abruptio can occur due to the detachment of the placenta from the uterine wall in the second and third semesters. When spotting occurs, it can be a sign that you are experiencing placenta abruptio.
Stillbirth occurs when a fetus dies in the uterus before labor. This condition occurs after the mother’s 20th week of pregnancy. Some accompanying symptoms that you may experience include stomach cramps, spotting, and even contractions. If you notice spotting along with these symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
3. Third Trimester (Weeks 24–40)
You should visit your obstetrician in the final trimester to confirm your pregnancy, especially if you notice spotting. However, spotting that occurs in the third trimester could be a sign of labor. Don’t wait to check your pregnancy with your doctor, and make sure to always keep your body well-hydrated to have a good birth.