Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy has many causes. Some are serious, and many aren't.

1st trimester

Possible causes of vaginal bleeding during the first trimester include:

  1. Miscarriage — the spontaneous loss of pregnancy before the 20th week
  2. Implantation bleeding — which occurs about 10 to 14 days after conception
  3. Problems with the cervix, such as a cervical infection, inflamed cervix or growths on the cervix
  4. Ectopic pregnancy
  5. Molar pregnancy — a rare occurrence in which an abnormal mass — instead of a baby — forms inside the uterus after fertilization

2nd or 3rd trimester

Possible causes of vaginal bleeding during the second or third trimester include:

  1. Miscarriage (before the 20th week) or intrauterine fetal death
  2. Placental abruption
  3. Placenta previa
  4. Incompetent cervix — Premature opening of the cervix — which can lead to preterm birth
  5. Problems with the cervix, such as a cervical infection, inflamed cervix or growths on the cervix
  6. Preterm labor — which might result in light bleeding — especially when accompanied by contractions, dull backache or pelvic pressure
  7. Uterine rupture, a rare but life-threatening occurrence in which the uterus tears open along the scar line from a prior C-section

Normal vaginal bleeding near the end of pregnancy

Light bleeding, often mixed with mucous, near the end of pregnancy could be a sign that labor is starting. Vaginal discharge that is pink or bloody is known as the bloody show.

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Apr. 09, 2014