Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy is any discharge of blood from the vagina during pregnancy.
Up to 1 in 4 women have vaginal bleeding at some time during their pregnancy. Bleeding is more commonin the first 3 months (first trimester), especially with twins.
During the first 3 months, vaginal bleeding may be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Contact the doctor right away.
During months 4 - 9, bleeding may be a sign of:
Other possible causes of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy:
Avoid sexual intercourse until your health care provider tells you that it is safe to start having intercourse again.
Drink only fluids if the bleeding and cramping are severe.
You may need to cut down your activity or be put on bed rest at home.
Medication is not needed in most cases. Do not take any medicines without talking to your health care provider.
Talk to your doctor about what to look for, such as the amount of bleeding and color of the blood.
Contact your health care provider if:
Your health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical exam.
You will probably have a pelvic exam as well.
Tests that may be done include:
Pregnancy - vaginal bleeding; Maternal blood loss
Francois KE, Foley MR. Antepartum and postpartum hemorrhage. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 19.
Houry DE, Salhi BA. Acute complications of pregnancy In Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2013:chap 178.
Cunningham FG, Leveno KL, Bloom SL, et al. Obstetrical hemorrhage. In: Cunningham FG, Leveno KL, Bloom SL, et al., eds. Williams Obstetrics. 23rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2010:chap 35.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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