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Bleeding or Spotting in Early Pregnancy: Should I Be Worried?

Updated on August 17, 2015

Bleeding During Pregnancy May be Normal

Perhaps one of the most terrifying things a pregnant woman can experience is vaginal bleeding, because she immediately wonders if it's a sign of miscarriage.

You need to know that about 30% of women experience some bleeding during the first trimester or first three months of pregnancy, so it's within the range of normal. If this happens to you, please don't to panic. It's likely that you're experiencing a normal pregnancy with some simple spotting. Worry can stress you or your baby, so try to relax and consider the important facts described below.

While it is always advised that pregnant women go to an obstetrician for medical advice, women also need to be aware that there are many other reasons for bleeding in early pregnancy, and many of them are nothing to worry about. When you call your doctor or midwife, make that call armed with facts that may help you to understand what's going on with your body. Fill up on information from various sources and then contact your doctor when you have a solid view of the situation.

* Please do note that the author of this article is not a doctor nor has she been to medical school. I am, however, a mother who has been through four successful pregnancies and has experienced vaginal bleeding during pregnancy.

Any time you are bleeding during pregnancy, you should contact your doctor for advice! While you're waiting to speak with the doctor, this article will help.

What is the color of the bleeding?

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Different Types of Vaginal Blood During Pregnancy

Blood comes in three colors: bright red, pale pink, and brown. You will notice the difference in your panties or when you wipe. Note the color of the discharge that you're experiencing, as this will be significant information for your doctor or midwife. Your ability to give them descriptive information will aid them in assisting you.

The color and the amount of blood are two important things to note.  The color might range from pale pink to brown to red.
The color and the amount of blood are two important things to note. The color might range from pale pink to brown to red.

Question: What's the difference between bleeding and spotting?

"Spotting" is a discharge of pink, reddish, or brown blood, but not enough to fill a pad.

"Bleeding" is a discharge of enough reddish or red blood to fill a pad.

Common Reasons for Light Pink Spotting in Early Pregnancy

  • Implantation (when the fertilized egg implants on the uterine wall) or blood left over from implantation.
  • Settling cervix: as a normal part of your body's preparation for birth, the cervix softens, then lengthens, shortens, dilates, and thins, sometimes displacing a little blood.
  • Breakthrough bleeding: sometimes your body gets a little confused and the pregnancy hormones don't fully impede your usual menstrual cycle.
  • Minor cervical injury.
  • Often, your doctor can't tell you what caused the bleeding, just that there is no injury to the fetus.
  • Rarely, it may be a sign of a more serious problem.

"Spotting" Is Normal

About 30% of women experience some bleeding during the first trimester or first three months of pregnancy.

Pink Blood and Spotting During Pregnancy

First, be reassured: Pink blood usually isn't something to be overly concerned about. Pink spotting is quite normal during early pregnancy. In fact, you may experience some pink or light red bleeding at the time that the fertilized egg implants on the uterine wall.

Often, this blood during early pregnancy is coming from your cervix. During pregnancy (and particularly in the early phases of a first pregnancy), your cervix is settling and preparing for the work that it's going to do protecting your uterus from infection and then later, opening to allow the baby to come out. Your body is going to experience a lot of changes early on in pregnancy, and this is only one of them. As the cervix settles, it may bleed a little bit, but this isn't typically something to worry about. If this bleeding is pink (light or dark) or watery, watch for further developments. If you begin to experience cramping as well, you'll want to contact your doctor. Please do note, however, that occasionally cramping and bleeding accompany one another at the time of implantation.

Possible Causes of Brown Spotting During Early Pregnancy

  • Old blood from your previous period.
  • Previously clotted blood from vaginal injury.
  • Healed cervical injury.
  • Sexual intercourse or a pelvic exam can dislodge old blood.
  • Rarely, it may be a sign of a more serious problem.

Brown Discharge and Spotting During Early Pregnancy

Many women report brown vaginal spotting during early pregnancy. They often say that the blood comes out in clumps (or clots). This can be alarming because brown spotting sometimes comes in higher volumes than the aforementioned pink spotting. The important thing to remember is not to cause yourself more stress than is absolutely necessary. In most cases, brown spotting is quite normal during pregnancy (as well as at other times in a woman's life).

As with the pink, brown spotting is generally caused by changes your body experiences during pregnancy. Your cervix is softening, lengthening, shortening, and eventually dilating and eventually thinning, and you'll experience more cervical pressure as your uterus expands to accommodate the growing fetus. It should also be noted that many doctors and midwives refer to this blood as "old blood," meaning that you have, essentially, lost a scab on your cervix. Sometimes brown blood comes from the vaginal walls themselves as well (which is even less to worry about).

To the pregnant woman, brown blood is more concerning than pink blood because it is often heavier in volume. Although they will likely tell you that you have nothing to worry about, it's best to touch base with your doctor or midwife.

Possible Reasons for Red Spotting

  • Vaginal bleeding caused by cuts or abrasions.
  • Implantation (before you find out you're pregnant).
  • Ectopic pregnancy.
  • Chemical pregnancy (early miscarriage).

Red blood during pregnancy isn't something that you want to ignore, even though it doesn't necessarily mean you're having a miscarriage!

Red Spotting During Early Pregnancy—Now You Can Worry!

If you see more than a dime-sized amount of red blood in your panties or on the toilet paper after you've wiped, step away from the computer and go call your doctor. Red blood can be an indication of a serious problem and you'll want to get checked. Go take care of that phone call and then you can come back and continue reading while you wait for your doctor or midwife to call you back.

Red blood during pregnancy isn't something that you want to ignore, even though it doesn't necessarily mean you're having a miscarriage!

Now that you have called your doctor, let's talk about red blood during early pregnancy.

There are two types of red blood that you may encounter. The first looks similar to the image of blood above: It's bright red (which usually means that it's highly oxygenated) and relatively thin. If you're experiencing this type of bleeding, chances are that you're going to be okay (unless you're bleeding in large amounts). You should still go in for a check up, but the chances are that you've gotten a scratch somewhere, especially if you're only spotting. This is more normal than you might think.

The other type of red blood is the type that you can worry about. This blood is darker, more like the color of your menstrual fluid, and may be mixed with some tissue. If you're seeing this type of bleeding, your doctor will probably want to see you straight away.

Don't mess around if you're bleeding red, even if you aren't cramping. However, it's recommended to call your doctor or midwife instead of rushing straight for the emergency room.

Reasons You Might be Spotting Blood During Early Pregnancy

Pink Spotting
Brown Spotting
Red Spotting
Cervical Settling
Old Blood from Periods
Leftover Blood from Implantation
Leftover Blood from Implantation
Vaginal Bleeding from Cuts
Minor Cervical Injury
Healed Cervical Injury
Chemical Pregnancy (Miscarriage)
Bleeding can be an indication miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, problems with the placenta, or another serious complication, so it's important to consult your doctor or midwife.

Cramping with Spotting or Bleeding Could be Serious

By itself, bleeding isn't necessarily serious.

By itself, cramping isn't necessarily serious.

But in combination with one another, cramping and bleeding may indicate a miscarriage or other serious problem, and you need to get yourself to the hospital right away!

Bleeding During Pregnancy Doesn't Always Mean Miscarriage

Many women (myself included) experience bleeding during early pregnancy (and even beyond) and go on through normal pregnancies without further problems. Bleeding alone is no reason to panic and if you aren't experiencing cramping with the bleeding, you may very well be just fine.

Remember that nothing substitutes for a doctor's advice. If you're worried about the condition of your baby, consult with your doctor or midwife!

© 2014 Becki Rizzuti


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    • Hmm 11 months ago

      There's a reason you missed for bleeding. Subchorionic hemmorhage/hematoma. These can cause any type of bleeding up to heavy red bleeding with clots and usually do not indicate miscarriage.

    • Cindy 12 months ago

      I just found out i am pregnant and today i started cramping like i was going to get my menstrual cycle. I am now bleeding when i go to the bathroom red little beady clots come out. Help?

    • Jess 16 months ago

      I have light pink bleeding with cramps and back pain is this anything to worry about ?

    • sarah 19 months ago

      I'm really confused. On 13th of April last month I had my period and finished on the 17th. 6th of may I had 4 little dots of pinkish red blood and then nothing 20 days late of my period yesterday I had pinkish blood it doesn't look like my period because it's always red am i pregnant or not .

    • Choie 21 months ago

      I don't no if this is still in use. However I'm around 5-6 week pregnant, I had a little bleed after intercourse 5 days ago and I had my bloods took and they confirmed I was pregnant. They booked me in for an ultrasound the next day. However because I'm so early they said hey wouldn't expect to see a fetous in the pregnacy sac just yet so they're booked me back in for an ultrasound on the 9th April, however I went to the bathroom before for a wee and they've a little bit of pink blood on the tissue. Iv just been again and when I wipped they've bloody on the tissue but this was more red and it looked like the type of blood one has when on their period. It wasn't a lot of blood but because this is my first pregnacy and I'm only 17 I'm abit worried. The weird think is that im experiencing no pain, I have a weird tingling sensation in my Vagina That I normally get when I'm about to come on my period. I had this tingling sensation when I was due on my period around the 17th-19th of each month but it turned out I was pregnant .

      I just don't no what to do or what to think in regards to this little bleed.

      Is there a chance that this could be a miscarriage??

    • may 22 months ago

      I'm 8 days delayed on my period, my period supposed to arrived on March 15,2015,today im having a lower back cramps, and have a pink blood when I wipe, what does this mean?? Does it mean im not pregnant??

    • bisu 23 months ago

      My husband make love to me on d 15 feb,the next day my period started 16feb.and i ended it on 21 feb,bt since than my husband have make love with me,bt now am seeing pink on my pant.please i my pregnant because i dont no.

    • jen 23 months ago

      I texted positive on my test which have been days ago, but haven't seen my doctor yet. I recently had an miscarriage months ago. I've just experienced some light pink blood should I be worried?

    • SamuraiMarine profile image

      Samuel Wright 2 years ago from Bakersfield, Ca.

      My wife and I had been trying for years to get pregnant and finally, after being married for about ten years, we give up. nineteen years into the marriage we were not expecting it, but it happened.

      About one month into the pregnancy she started significant "Spotting". With all the health issues that she had had in the past, we both went into panic mode. Rushed to the OB-GYN with her crying and me close to it, both of us sure that we were going to lose the baby.

      Everything turned out fine, I forget what they called it, but it had to do with her age (in her 40s) and the fact that she has endometriosis. We did have to go back once a week until the term and Gideon was born perfectly healthy.

    • Drvikramchauhan profile image

      Vikram Chauhan 2 years ago from Chandigarh

      Bleeding during pregnancy is common, especially during the first trimester, and usually it's no cause for alarm. But because bleeding can sometimes be a sign of something serious, it's important to know the possible causes, and get checked out by your doctor to make sure you and your baby are healthy.

    • lona 2 years ago

      I missed my periods last month I am 40yrs on 1 november I started spotting first it was dark brown blood then pinkish sometimes watery and I have pain in my left leg , ligh pain in lower abdomen and lower back pain my breasts are big and tender

    • confused gal. 2 years ago


      I have been trying to conceive for a couple of months now. I had my periods on October 7 and till now I haven't had them. I have been experiencing menstrual cramps, tender breasts, lower back ache and extreme hunger. Also, I feel like a small ball is there on my left side and it hurts sometimes. I have gained weight like some 5 kgs. Please let me know if I am pregnant. I haven't taken the pregnancy test for the fear that it might come negative as it is early now. Please advise me.


      God bless.

    • Lib 2 years ago

      I know this is an older thread but if your still giving advice? Hi, i'm 8 weeks pregnant. Confirmed with US, fetal pole and HB high in uterus. I have had spotting of all sorta of colors- red, brown, pink milky- over the past 18 days (md is monitoring with weekly checkups).

      You had mentioned that you experienced spotting while pregnant. How long of a time period was that? What advice did your md give (pelvic rest, bed rest, progesterone supplements, anything?). Did they find a cause or reason for it?

      I read everywhere that bleeding in early pregnancy is normal, but for how long and with no apparent cause? Can you bleed for entirety of pregnancy with a healthy baby at the end?

    • Eymer 2 years ago

      Had my period between 3rd and 7th Sept. Did a pregnancy test on the 16th Oct and it was positive. Unfortunately on the 20th Oct I started bleeding which went from pink to bright red with tiny clots and no pain. The bleeding does not soak a full pad. Went to the Doctors and the ultra sound showed an empty uterus not even a gestation sac could be seen. Doctor said it might either be too soon for the ultrasound to pick anything was put on bed rest but I'm really scared if I have lost my little love though the bleeding has subsided after medication with duphaston. Its now brown blood

    • latonya 2 years ago

      Well 5 weeks ago me and my boyfriend had sex the condom broke. The next week he starts to throw up and get sick everyday. My menstrual is 5 weeks late my breast been sore been tired and sleeping more than usual & irritable. Been under a lot of stress and yesterday when i took a shower blood and clots were just run in the whole shower was bright red. Before that happened my side was hurting a bit but never felt that feeling before. Did i have a miscarriage?

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      Brown blood is generally an indication of "old blood" that has been on your cervix and is now being expelled. the Baby Dance can be the cause of disrupting the blood on your cervix and therefore make you bleed off-cycle.

      If it's two weeks before your period, and you had your previous cycle as expected, and if we assume that your cycles are "normal" (28-34 days), then it's too early for you to be pregnant. Pregnancy begins when an egg implants in the endometrium, and that occurs about ten days after your ovulation (but as many as twelve d.p.o.). If you're two weeks from your next period, you may be in your fertile window right now, which means that you could not be pregnant for up to another two weeks or so.

      After implantation, it's safe to test.

      If the bleeding changes color or begins to look like a period, contact your doctor. Off-cycle bleeding isn't normal and may be an indication of reproductive problems.

    • renae17 2 years ago

      Hi its been three weeks since ive had unprotected sex with my boyfriend this week only my lower back started hurting a lot. And tonight when had sex again but when i got home and used the bathroom when i wiped there was brown blood and its two weeks to early for me to start my period. i was just wondering if there is anything i should be worried about. I haven't taken a pregnancy test yet and I also wanted to know if i should or shouldn't?

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      Call your doctor, Suzanne. If you've been TTC for that long without success, it's better to put your mind at ease than it is to wait it out. If you're worried, you should make that call: That's what he's there for.

      Chances are that without cramping it's nothing to be concerned about, but it's worth making sure.

    • Suzanne Johnson profile image

      Suzanne Johnson 2 years ago from Bayfield, Colorado

      Hi first off it may be important to know we have been trying for 2 1/2 years to conceive. We'll yesterday I was 5 days late so I decided to take a test and it was positive! I took a digital one this morning and it said pregnant 2-3. Well I went to the bathroom and had mild cramping so I kinda "went up there" sorry tmi and had some red blood on my cervix. I haven't had bad cramping or prolonged cramping but do get a few tinges here and there. Does this mean I'm having a miscarriage? Please help I'm so scared I'm losing this baby already

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      @Chantellen: Talk to your doctor. If the bleeding is heavy, you need to get it checked out!

      @lynn: If you're bleeding any time in your cycle other than during your period, you need to see your doctor to get it checked out. Bleeding outside of your normal period isn't normal.

    • lynn 2 years ago

      i was having pink like blood spots for last two weeks but today i have seen red spots while in the washroom but i don't have any pain and i don't know if am pregnant pliz help me what is wrong ?

    • Chantellen 2 years ago

      I should have stated with my heavy bleeding an clearblue test saying I'm 1-2 weeks there was no cramps or clots just don't know what to think of this

    • Chantellen 2 years ago

      I had a clearblue pregnancy test stating I'm 1-2 weeks but I woke up this Morning with pink red blood heavy for about 20 mins now spotting what could this b?

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      @lynn: Assuming that you're pregnant, if it's pink you might have scratched yourself a little bit. Talk to your doctor to be absolutely certain (I'd hate to steer you wrong) but pink spots generally aren't cause for too much worry.

    • lynn 2 years ago

      from last week sometimes i just see pink spots on my pant or when i clean myself in washroom. what could be the problem ?

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      Only your doctor can tell you if you miscarried. She should have done blood tests when you first found out that you were pregnant and again when you started to bleed and cramp. A drop in your hormone levels (or a lack of rise) over a two day period indicates miscarriage.

      i cramped and bled during my pregnancy with my six year-old, so there's no way of knowing without further medical testing.

    • rhen 2 years ago

      Last aug.29, i went to my OB coz i found out that i was pregnant. She said Im 4 weeks pregnant and its too early coz what they only see is a ges.sac. I started spotting brown last aug.26 then it turned light red then dark red. As day passed, it started to become light bleeding but not heavy enough to soak a pad. Yesterday, it turned to spotting again light pink until today. I only have mild cramping. Doctor told me to take utrogestan. Im worried if i miscarried coz after my ultrasound, pregnancy went away, i can only feel the mild symptoms but very little. My next schedule for ultrasound is on sept. 12. Do you think i miscarried?

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      Tiffany, did your doctor give you any reason you might be bleeding? It can be caused by a number of things, including cuts or tears in the cervix or birth canal. If the baby's fine, try not to worry too much. This happened to me when I was pregnant with my now six year-old.

    • Tiffany 2 years ago

      I went to er yesterday and Thursday for bleeding Thursday it was pink and was told baby was fine I had bladder infection then Friday I was bleeding red I was there 15 hours and they said baby was fine why do I continue to bleed

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      @Alyssa: Your doctor is the best person to answer questions specific to your case.

      If your hormone levels are dropping, that is an indication of miscarriage, particularly when the hormone levels are dropping in conjunction with bleeding. Have you had an ultrasound done to confirm miscarriage?

    • Alyssa 2 years ago

      I am about 2 1/2 months pregnant my baby is a size of a peanut. I stryed bleeding for two weeks like a bormal period. Doctors said its normal and then i grt told by another doctor im possibly having a miscarage my hormone levels dropped but i am not bleeding and my boobs are tender and my stomach still feels like my baby is there. What does this mean?

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      @shi: If you haven't confirmed a pregnancy, then it's probably a period. If this is unusual for you, you should contact your doctor for advice.

    • shi 2 years ago

      I was 3 days late n I was cramping on a wednsday I started to bleed in the late afternoon it was a brown and I had it for the whole 4 and a half days

    • ashley 2 years ago

      Thanks! Ugh. :)

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      @ashley: Oops. Morning brain. Please forgive me.

      I'd call your doctor just in case. It's obviously not abnormal to be late, but cervical mucous mixed with blood isn't typical for menstruation, either.

    • ashley 2 years ago

      Thanks for the quick response. It actually would be a late period, though not very late. I was expecting to start on the 25th or 26th and saw the blood on the 27th. Just looked different. I guess we'll wait and see! Thanks, again!

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      @ashley: It could just be that you started early. If it's a chemical pregnancy (a miscarriage before your period is due), you probably wouldn't see a positive pregnancy test, as the hCG in your urine drops when you miscarry.

      Hopefully it's just an early period and not a miscarriage. :(

    • ashley 2 years ago

      I was expecting to start my period on the 25th or 26. A few days before I started feeling achey like I was about to start my period. On the 27th, my back started aching--like around my kidneys (which I just attributed to a medication I'm taking), also on the 27th, after I used the restroom, I looked down and saw clumpy, stringy blood. not pink, not brown--it was red. Kind of looked like a few red clumps then several little red spots. This did not look like my typical period. This happened yesterday, now I'm having red blood when I wipe. I didn't think I was pregnant, but now I'm wondering if I am experiencing a miscarriage or a weird period. Bleh. I am not trying to be pregnant and am dreading taking a pregnancy test. I think I'll wait a couple days and see how if it changes.

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      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      @keem: I don't see anything about the timing of the cramping, I'm sorry.

      If she's bleeding at an unusual time in her cycle, she should always contact her doctor. Unusual bleeding and cramping always comes with a low threshold for doctor contact, and since this is out of place, it's better for her to call a medical professional.

      If she doesn't have a regular doctor, a woman's health line should be able to help. They are usually attached to local hospitals.

    • keem 2 years ago

      but like i said it was a week and a half after her period when she started cramping... and she usaully only cramps about 2 days before her period

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      @keem: I can't speak for everyone but I personally spot (light pink) and cramp (hard) for up to three days before my period arrives. I'd call the doctor just to be sure (since I'm not a doctor myself), but it's probably perfectly normal.

    • keem 2 years ago

      im still waiting to see if her time of the month on... her cramps started about a week and a half after her last one so im not too sure if she is or not

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      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      @keem: First of all, if you know for sure that she's pregnant, she should call the doctor about any bleeding that she's experiencing.

      Very light pink blood sounds like it's perfectly normal, but it's best to have it checked out by a doctor!

    • keem 2 years ago

      my fiancée has just experienced light pink bleeding for the first time she was having minor cramps before this from about last week saturday however she haven't had any since the light pink bleeding.... what is this supposed to mean

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      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      @rachel: No, you won't get your period if you implant because if you implant, you're pregnant.

    • rachel 2 years ago

      If i have implantation bleeding 10 days before my period will I still get my period or no?

    • Pregnancy Now profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 2 years ago from Central Indiana

      If you have pain with bleeding, you should contact your doctor.

    • gugu 2 years ago

      I have pain's

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