After you first become pregnant, your mind is filled with so many questions, worries, anxieties and more. Often, a woman may experience some bleeding during her pregnancy and mistake it for having a period. In fact, some women experience menstruation symptoms, including bleeding, throughout the pregnancy, but it is impossible to have a "period" while pregnant. There are several reasons why a woman may have bleeding or spotting during pregnancy and most of them are not serious; however, always notify your doctor immediately if you notice any bleeding.
What is Menstruation?
When you menstruate, hormones tell the body to release an egg and attach it to the fallopian tubes. A wall of blood begins to form around the egg as a protective layer and it is now ready to be fertilized. It is at this time that the egg can be fertilized and you may become pregnant. If the egg is not fertilized, levels of hormones drop, and the egg and the lining are shed causing your period, according to pregnancy-info.net.
Impossible during Pregnancy
With an egg already fertilized, meaning you have become pregnant, the body begins producing higher levels of hormones that will continue to climb throughout the pregnancy. This tells the body that an egg has been fertilized and to stop the menstruation process. If the body were to continue having periods, it would require these hormone levels to drop and the protective layers surrounding the egg to be shed. This would make it very difficult to maintain pregnancy, therefore menstruation is impossible once you become pregnant.
Early Bleeding or Spotting
According to pregnancy-info-guide.com, as many as one in 10 women develop some kind of bleeding during the early part of pregnancy. The most common cause is implantation bleeding, caused by the egg burrowing into the uterine wall. This is often seen as light bleeding or spotting. Also, the body's hormone levels do not always rise up fast enough, causing some portion of the lining of the uterus to be shed, mimicking a period. Women can develop bleeding from urinary tract infection, as well as after having sex. The infection can be taken care of with antibiotics.
If the pregnancy is not developing properly, the body may abort the developing baby naturally through a miscarriage. Symptoms include heavy bleeding with cramping and tissue passing through the vagina, according to American Pregnancy Association. A miscarriage if not often able to be prevented and occurs most often within the first three months of pregnancy, but later term miscarriages are also possible, especially if there is any physical trauma to the mother. A miscarriage does not mean you cannot have another baby or that it will happen again.
The egg does not always fertilize properly and may develop outside the uterus, most commonly the fallopian tube. The egg cannot naturally fertilize in the fallopian tube and causes severe abdominal cramps, bleeding and weakness. An ectopic pregnancy can be very dangerous and require surgery of the tube has ruptured. If it is early enough in the pregnancy, a drug called Methotrexate may be administered to allow the body to absorb the pregnancy tissue.
Rarely, the fertilized egg will not develop into an embryo, but into an abnormal growth called a molar pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, molar pregnancies look like a large and random grouping of cell clusters. There are occasions were an embryo may develop alongside the molar cells, but it is quickly consumed by the abnormal growth. A molar pregnancy happens in about one in 1,000 pregnancies and has symptoms of vaginal bleeding, high blood pressure and nausea. The molar pregnancy is often aborted naturally by the body, but can be removed by a physician.
Late Pregnancy Bleeding
It is possible for women to begin bleeding later in the pregnancy, due to problems with the placenta. A placental abruption is caused with the placenta detaches from the uterine wall causing cramping and bleeding. Placenta previa is caused when the placenta is low in the uterus and completely or partially covers the opening of the cervix.
Women may also have bleeding late in the pregnancy if they develop pre-term labor, which is labor that occurs before 37 weeks. The body decides it is time to expel the baby and begins the birthing process ahead of schedule. Pre-term labor can be stopped with rest and with medication, most of the time.