While spotting or light bleeding during pregnancy can be alarming, it isn’t usually a sign of a problem. But how about a brown discharge during pregnancy? Is it normal?
What does pregnancy spotting mean?
Spotting while pregnant. | Photo by Jonas Kakaroto from Pexels
Women may experience light vaginal bleeding or spotting while pregnant. This appears as a bright red, pink, or brown stain on the underwear or sanitary napkin. Although it may seem alarming, vaginal spotting is quite common and is usually nothing to worry about.
After conception, at the earliest point of pregnancy, bleeding occurs when the embryo is implanted into the uterus. At later stages of pregnancy, spotting may be caused by different reasons. For most women, spotting occurs when the body tries to adjust itself to the new and changed levels of hormonal secretion.
Intercourse may also cause spotting while pregnant. When a pregnant woman has intercourse, the sensitive mucosa lining of the vagina may begin to bleed.
The friction generated between the penis and the vagina triggers this. Subchorionic hemorrhage can also cause bleeding. However, these clots usually disappear by themselves and do not cause any major problems.
Occasional spotting while pregnant is normally not worrying. However, care should be taken if the spotting continues at an alarming rate. This should be discussed with a doctor immediately as severe bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage.
Brown discharge in early pregnancy
Brown discharge or brown spotting in pregnancy usually suggests the presence of blood. As people age, their blood oxidizes, turning from a rich red to a brown color.
Early pregnancy brown discharge
While some spotting is common early in pregnancy, it’s still a good idea to consult with a doctor. The doctor may prescribe more tests to assess the health of the pregnant woman and the fetus, which can provide relief.
Brown spotting pregnancy: First trimester
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that 15 to 20% of pregnant women have bleeding in the first trimester.
A 2010 study of 4,539 pregnant women found that around one-fourth of them experienced bleeding during the first trimester. Spotting was most common in the sixth and seventh weeks of pregnancy, according to the study. It wasn’t always an indication of miscarriage or that something wasn’t right.
Early pregnancy brown discharge or spotting during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Cervical irritation following sexual activity, a recent pelvic exam, or a recent transvaginal ultrasound: The cervix becomes very vascular during pregnancy and can bleed with minimal contact. Because early pregnancy bleeding is not hazardous, it is not necessary to avoid intercourse (or pelvic exams or ultrasounds).
- Brown discharge in early pregnancy or spotting can occur during the fertilized egg’s implantation in the uterine wall. It is also called implantation bleeding.
- Cervical ectopy in the invasion of cells normally located in the uterus or cervical canal to the surface of the cervix. When these delicate cells are stimulated, they have a tendency to bleed. Ectopy is more common in women who have given birth vaginally in the past or who have used birth control pills for a long time.
- Cervicitis (cervical infection) is an inflammation of the cervix caused most commonly by infections. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomonas, and genital herpes are examples of sexually transmitted infections, as well as non-sexually transmitted infections such as bacterial vaginosis. A diaphragm irritation or a condom latex allergy can also induce cervicitis.
- Ectopic pregnancy happens when an embryo implants in the fallopian tubes, resulting in spotting. This is a potentially fatal circumstance.
Brown discharge during pregnancy second trimester
In the second trimester, irritation of the cervix, most typically after intercourse or a cervical check, can cause mild bleeding, spotting, or brown discharge during pregnancy. This is a common event that usually causes little worry.
A cervical polyp can also cause bleeding in the second trimester. This is a perfectly harmless growth in the cervical region. Spotting may occur as a result of an increased number of blood vessels in the tissue around the cervix.
Call your doctor right away if you have significant vaginal bleeding, such as during your menstrual period. Heavy bleeding during the second trimester may suggest a medical issue, such as:
Brown discharge in pregnancy or Pregnancy spotting: third trimester
Light brown discharge in pregnancy or light bleeding or spotting may occur after sex or a cervical check in late pregnancy. This is a common event that usually causes little worry. It could also be the result of a “bloody show” or a sign that labor will begin soon.
If you’re experiencing unusual vaginal bleeding late in your pregnancy, see your doctor straight once. It could be triggered by:
Call your doctor right away if you detect a change in your blood flow or light spotting. Based on your other symptoms, you may need to be assessed.
How much bleeding is normal in early pregnancy
Photo by Matilda Wormwood
Call your doctor if you experience vaginal bleeding throughout any trimester. Wear a pad to keep track of how much and what kind of blood you’re losing (for example, pink, brown, or red; smooth or full of clots).
Any tissue that goes through the vaginal canal should be tested by your doctor. When bleeding, do not use a tampon or engage in sexual activity.
Your doctor will want to know how long you’ve been bleeding and how much has it been. If you have cramps and pain early in your pregnancy, he or she will prescribe testing – ultrasound, blood, and/or urine testing.
Your doctor may urge you to rest, relax, stay off your feet, and avoid having sex if the bleeding is not dangerous. To halt severe bleeding, you may need long-term bed rest, hospitalization, or surgery.
To help yourself, keep your body healthy. Take a folic acid-fortified prenatal vitamin every day while pregnant. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using illegal drugs should all be avoided.
Consult your doctor before taking any prescription drug. You should never use tampons or douche (vaginal cleansing products) when you’re pregnant.
How long does spotting last in early pregnancy
Photo by Daniel Reche
Between 10 and 14 days after conception, the fertilized egg, now known as a blastocyst, attaches itself to the uterine lining. If the implantation irritates and shifts the lining, spotting may occur.
Implantation hemorrhage is the medical term for this. Although implantation bleeding after conception affects only around a third of pregnant women, it is a frequent pregnancy symptom.
Implantation spotting typically lasts a few hours to a few days, however, some women have reported it lasting up to seven days.
During their pregnancy, around half of all pregnant women have some bleeding. Spotting can occur at any moment during pregnancy, although it is most frequent during the first three months (weeks 1 through 12).
Spotting early in pregnancy is usually not a cause for concern. Minor bleeding during pregnancy results in the majority of healthy babies.
Spotting, on the other hand, may signal a miscarriage. Miscarriages account for 10 to 20% of all pregnancies known. If this is the case, spotting may become more intense, and fluid and tissue may be released from the vaginal area. It’s possible that the bleeding will linger anywhere from a few hours to two weeks.
If you’re already pregnant and have spotting, see your doctor or OB-GYN as soon as possible. While not every pregnancy bleeding is a sign of trouble, your doctor will want to rule out potentially dangerous causes including cervical polyps, ectopic pregnancy, or miscarriage.
Different reasons for brown discharge during pregnancy
Light brown discharge pregnancy
According to Medical News Today, the brown discharge in early pregnancy just means that there is a tinge of blood in the discharge. When the blood ages and oxidizes, it will turn from deep red to brown. Spotting is pretty common in early pregnancy. It is normal and nothing to worry about.
4 weeks of pink discharge in pregnancy or 6 weeks of light brown discharge during pregnancy
Having a pink, light brown, or pinkish-brown discharge during the 4th or 6th week of pregnancy may indicate implantation bleeding. That being said, a 4 weeks of pink discharge in pregnancy or 6 weeks of light brown discharge during pregnancy are just signs that the fertilized egg was implanted in the uterus.
Aside from that, hormonal changes can also cause brown discharge during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, your hormones surge and cause an increase in blood flow.
Hormonal changes and implantation bleeding are normal in the first trimester but you should also be wary of any other symptoms aside from brown discharge.
Brown mucus discharge in pregnancy if accompanied by other symptoms such as varying degrees of pain, vaginal bleeding, stomach ache, and pressure on the nerves can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. Typically, the fertilized egg grows in a fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancy is a serious emergency condition that requires immediate medical attention. If left untreated it may cause serious complications in a woman’s health.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Bloody mucus discharge during early pregnancy
A bloody mucus discharge called the bloody show is common in the late stage of pregnancy. This may indicate that the labor is near or will begin shortly. A bloody mucus discharge during the late stage of pregnancy, if not accompanied by other worrisome symptoms is normal. However, a bloody mucus discharge during early pregnancy is uncommon and can indicate preterm labor. Watch out for other symptoms such as backache, stomach cramps, regular contractions, pressure in the pelvis, and water breaking. It’s better to consult your doctor right away once you notice any signs of preterm labor.
Dark brown discharge in pregnancy
A dark brown discharge in pregnancy can be an early sign of miscarriage. According to UC Davies Health, dark brown spotting in pregnancy is one of the symptoms of miscarriage.
The dark brown spotting in pregnancy may look like coffee grounds. It is actually old blood coming out of your vagina. As a sign of miscarriage, a dark brown discharge is commonly accompanied by dark red bleeding and a passage of tissue through the vagina.
A woman may also experience a gush of pink or clear vaginal fluid together with abdominal pain or cramping. You can also be noticed that the pregnancy symptoms like breast tenderness and nausea begin to go away while the feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness remains.
If you experience any signs of miscarriage, it is important to rush to your doctor for evaluation.
Watery period blood sign of pregnancy?
If there’s a chance that you might be pregnant and you had watery period blood, consult your doctor. According to Healthline, watery period blood can be a sign of pregnancy but may also indicate an injury or miscarriage. Seek medical help if you experience watery blood coming from your uterus.
How to stop brown discharge during pregnancy
If you are asking how to stop brown discharge during pregnancy, the answer is it couldn’t be stopped. It is a natural process of the body. If by any chance a brown discharge in pregnancy bothers you or causes you to worry about yourself and your baby, then it’s better to consult your doctor to know if there’s any underlying issue that needs medical attention.
Updates by Margaux Dolores and Jobelle Macayan
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