One out of 10 women will have vaginal bleeding during their third trimester. At times, it may be a sign of a more serious problem. In the last few months of pregnancy, you should always report bleeding to your health care provider right away.
You should understand the difference between spotting and bleeding:
When labor begins, the cervix starts to open up more, or dilate. You may notice a small amount of bleeding mixed in with normal vaginal discharge, or mucus.
Mid- or late-term bleeding may also be caused by:
More serious causes of late-term bleeding may include:
Your doctor or midwife may need to know these things to find the cause of your vaginal bleeding:
You can watch at home a small amount of spotting without any other symptoms that occurs after having sex or an exam by your health care provider.
For any other bleeding, you should call your health care provider right away.
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.
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, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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