What Does it Mean to Be Spotting?


Spotting is often referred to as light vaginal bleeding either between your period or when you are pregnant. The spots can appear light red or brown. It's not usually a cause for concern unless the bleeding turns heavy or the spotting occurs repeatedly. If you are worried about irregular vaginal bleeding, discuss these concerns with your doctor.


Spotting can occur in the early stages of pregnancy. If you have a missed period and you are spotting and have no other health concerns, it could be an indication that you are pregnant. Blood that's brownish in color during spotting is also another indication you might be pregnant. The reason it's brown is because your uterus is shedding old blood. If you suspect you may be pregnant, take a home pregnancy test (HPT). HPTs are most effective a few days after your missed period. Also taking a HPT in the morning will give you better results, because the pregnancy hormone hCG is most prevalent.

Your Period is Due

You might notice light red or brown spotting a few days before your period is to begin. This is just your body's way of getting ready. Sometimes you may spot for several days before your period actually gets here; sometimes you may even spot your entire period. A spotty period doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong, your menstrual cycle may just be different that month.

Birth Control

This is especially true for birth control pills. Taking your pill at the exact time every day is not only important for maximum effectiveness of the pill, but to eliminate spotting. Spotting can also occur while on birth control, if you have recently switched pill brands or types of contraception (for example, switching from the pill to the shot.) This is normal and will regulate itself the longer you are on the form of birth control.

Stopping a pack of pills in the middle of your cycle can also cause you to spot and have an early period. Expect your period to come early if you quit taking your pills.


Spotting can sometimes mean that your body is miscarrying the fetus during pregnancy. A miscarriage is when the fetus detaches from your uterus. However, in a miscarriage, the spotting will eventually turn heavy, so light spotting during pregnancy does not always mean you are miscarrying.

A miscarriage cannot be avoided. If you are ever concerned about the possibility of miscarrying, talk with your doctor. He will assess your risks (if any) and discuss ways to reduce the possibility.

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