Period During Pregnancy – Causes and Possible Steps to Take

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Period during pregnancy refers to a discharge or bleeding of menstrual blood through vagina when a woman is actually pregnant. Although period in pregnancy is a fairly common occurrence in women with irregular menstrual cycles, it can also be reported in women with normal and regular menstrual cycles.

Period in pregnancy actually means that someone who has successfully conceived, with a viable pregnancy, is experiencing vaginal bleeding at the same time. 

It’s practically or technically impossible to have period or menstruation with a viable pregnancy because of hormonal influence. In most cases of reported period in pregnancy, vaginal bleeding due to other obvious causes is mistaken for a period during pregnancy.

What are possible causes of period in pregnancy?

The first primary cause of period during pregnancy is in the case of chemical pregnancy. It’s possible for a woman to have positive pregnancy test, a few days afterwards test negative for pregnancy while suddenly getting her period. This is a kind of pregnancy that ends abruptly before it begins and then a late period shows-up.

Usually, the fertilized egg moves into implantation in the womb and somehow washes-off before implantation process is completed. This is like a cycle in which pregnancy never practically occurred and is not referred to as a miscarriage.

Many women who experienced chemical pregnancy often don’t know they conceived in the first place except those who conducted early home pregnancy test.

Apart from chemical pregnancy, a false menstrual bleeding or implantation bleeding is another cause of period in pregnancy. In vast majority of pregnant moms, conception occurs and the zygote (fertilized egg) travels all the way from fallopian tube where fertilization took place into the womb for implantation.

When the zygote erodes through the rich and vascular mucosa or lining of uterus to implant itself, it usually ends up rupturing some blood vessels during the process, leading to what is called implantation bleeding.

Implantation bleeding normally occurs at around the same time your monthly menstruation is due and could often be mistaken for a period.

Some expecting moms can also experience a vaginal bleeding, that mimics menstrual period, after a vaginal examination or sexual intercourse. This rarely occurs in some expecting moms and any such case must be properly investigated for placental or vaginal abnormalities.

Another important cause of period in pregnancy is possible placenta abnormalities that may present with mild spotting even though it’s not periodic (does not occur on monthly basis).

As well, period in pregnancy may be a warning sign of more serious issue like early miscarriage or spontaneous abortion.  An early miscarriage often happens around the time that you would have expected to have a monthly period.

It can be rather like a period, with bleeding and a similar kind of abdominal aching pain, maybe happening on and off. Usually in this case, discharge of fetal tissues along with vaginal blood and mucus is experienced in the form of a period.

How to differentiate period in pregnancy from regular monthly cycles?

It is very important to be able to differentiate period during pregnancy or implantation bleeding from a typical monthly cycle. A few points can help to differentiate the two.

A discharge, spotting or bleeding in form of menstruation during pregnancy can occur at irregular intervals and are mostly restricted to a few stains on your under-garments; whereas monthly period occurs at regular intervals of time and marked by the hormonal changes and physical changes like increase in basal body temperature, among others.

What to do if you have period during pregnancy?

If you are experiencing recurrent bouts of discharge during pregnancy, you must consult a physician. You may have to undergo some necessary blood investigations to rule out you don’t have any blood disorder or clotting tendency. Some expecting moms tend to develop clotting factor deficiency during pregnancy (due to conditions such as liver damage or nutritional deficiencies).

Lastly, ultrasound is necessary to determine the reason for bleeding and ascertain if your baby is viable and alright. Although about 50% episodes of slight bleeding, discharge or period during pregnancy comes with no complication, it is still important to carry out all necessary cautions and clinical investigations.

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