Being pregnant can be a delightful experience, but it still comes with a few drawbacks like the nausea in the first trimester, the back pain, the constant need to pee and rest, not to mention the extra hormones that can turn the simplest emotion into a greater event then it actually is. Still, since every woman is different each one experiences different things, like the fact that not all women have a “period during pregnancy” as they call it. While it is not literally a period, it is not harmful to the health of the baby or the mother, but rather something natural if it is implantation bleeding.
What is a period during pregnancy?
Like previously stated, this is not exactly a regular period. When that time of the month usually comes, the egg along with the extra tissue and blood, that would normally be used to accommodate the baby, is expelled from the body. It is just lining of the uterus that presents itself as regular period. It is also called implantation bleeding.
Is the term “period during pregnancy” medically correct?
Pregnant women cannot have periods and it would not even make sense if they have. Before a woman’s period, the hormone levels in her body increase and a layer of blood and tissue is added to the uterus walls as a protection to accommodate a possible fetus. However, when fertilization does not take place, the hormone levels drop and the body expels the extra tissue and blood. This does not happen during pregnancy because the fertilization has taken place and there is no need to shed the tissue and blood. A more appropriate term would be implantation bleeding or spotting or bleeding. Implantation bleeding is normal and need not to worry about but spotting or heavy bleeding needs immediate attention so that it can be managed well. This needs to consult a doctor and have medical checkup.
Causes behind period during pregnancy:
While there are many causes to such a condition, not all of them are threatening to your health. A few of the causes are presented below:
- Implantation bleeding: This occurs when the embryo settles (or implants) on the uterine wall, thus causing a mild bleeding that can be confused with the normal period. Since it usually takes place around the time the monthly period should start, it can be rather misleading. But it is normal and should not be considered as a health threat.
- Miscarriage: There are three types of miscarriage: threatened, complete and incomplete. Only the first one has the possibility of the fetus surviving, and the second, also called spontaneous abortion is the most common of the three.
- Blighted ovum: This typically occurs when something in the development of the fetus goes wrong, independent of the actions of the mother.
- Intrauterine fetal demise: In this case, the fetus dies inside the uterus. Although this can happen at any given moment during the pregnancy, it is more uncommon for it to happen after the first trimester.
- Ectopic pregnancy: It implies a pregnancy outside of the uterus and it is quite life threatening to the mother, causing severe bleeding. Seeing as how the fetus will develop outside the uterus, it will be deprived of the nutrients that an intrauterine baby would have access to and will eventually die.
Precautions to take during period during pregnancy:
The best precaution that you can take in avoiding any real issues from bleeding during pregnancies is to consult your doctor as soon as you notice it. A hint of precaution never harmed anyone and by this way, you have a good chance of catching any possible grave situation in time. In addition, just to be on the safe side you should try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Do not strain yourself with hard work and avoid drinking alcohol. Do not go near drugs and avoid smoking and people who smoke.
Home care or first aid
Since you never know when the bleeding may start or if it will even start at all, you should have some basic idea of what you should do to take care of yourself until you get to the doctor:
- Rest – It is extremely beneficial to rest as much as possible. If you are involved in activities that required effort, then do not do them and try to relax as much as possible.
- Supplements – Folic acid is the perfect supplement that will help you during any crisis. It is used for improving the placenta function, fight against anemia and thus it reduces the chances of having a miscarriage.
- Abstain from sexual intercourse – Being sexually active during pregnancy is entirely healthy. However, if signs of bleeding start, the sexual contact should be interrupted until you can visit your doctor and establish the source or reason of your bleeding.
Pregnant women need to undergo a series of tests that will help doctors discover any threatening factors that could affect the fetus during pregnancy. Most of these tests are quite common and most importantly neither of them includes any type of radiation (like X-ray etc.):
- Urine analysis – This test is able to determine if the mother suffers from urinary tract infection which can lead to kidney infection, but most importantly it is a possible cause of miscarriage.
- Blood type and Rh – The purpose of this test is to determine if the Rh is positive or negative. The difference in the Rh of the mother and father may cause the mother’s body to produce antibodies against the cells of the fetus, thus affecting the baby’s health. The treatment in this case is an injection of “RhoGAM (rhod immune globulin human),” and it is effective if it is administered during the first pregnancy.
- Blood count – The blood count test is meant to determine approximately how much blood has already been lost.
- Serum quantitative bhCG – It is meant to determine the amount of living tissue during pregnancy. In combination with a pelvic ultrasound, it is effective in discovering if the pregnancy is ectopic or intrauterine.
- Ultrasound – This may be the most commonly known test in case of pregnancy. Ultrasound is extremely useful in determining the existence, the age and the health status of the fetus.
Bleeding during pregnancy is not extremely common, but it does not mean that you are getting your period. It can be rather confusing since it is not so easy to determine whether you are actually getting your normal period or have a spotting. However, the key is not to panic. Make sure to get plenty of rest and always be sure to keep yourself hydrated. If anything feels wrong or the symptoms get worse, make an appointment with your doctor and get expert opinion before deciding what to do next.
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