Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy: What causes it, and what should you do?
Bleeding during pregnancy: Why it happens, what to do
Bleeding during pregnancy has many causes. Know when to contact your health care provider.
Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy can be scary. It's not always a sign of trouble, however. In fact, most women who experience vaginal bleeding during pregnancy — particularly during the first trimester — go on to deliver healthy babies. By understanding the most common causes of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, you'll know what to look for and when to contact your health care provider.
Bleeding during the second or third trimester
As the cervix begins to thin out and relax in preparation for labor, the thick plug of mucus that seals the opening of the cervix is dislodged. When this happens, you may notice a thick or stringy discharge that may be tinged with blood. This "bloody show" is a normal sign of impending labor that may occur up to a week or two before delivery.
A bloody show near the end of pregnancy isn't cause for concern. But other causes of bleeding during the second or third trimester are more worrisome, including:
When to contact your health care provider
What to expect next
Depending on the cause of the bleeding and various other factors, treatment may include bed rest or medication. If you have a cervical infection, you may be given antibiotics. In some cases, an emergency C-section may be recommended.
Last Updated: 05/02/2007
© 1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Terms and conditions of use