Most of the problems causing bleeding later in pregnancy are due to problems with the placenta or cervix.
- Sometimes as the baby grows and places pressure on the cervix it does not function properly and starts to open, doctors can sometimes put a stitch in the cervix to help hold it closed until the birth.
- Placenta previa. This is where the placenta implants and grows partially or totally over the opening of the uterus and can cause bleeding in late pregnancy, as the cervix starts to open for birth.
- Low lying placenta. This may not actually be over the opening, but as the uterus grows and moves up, it may cause bleeding
- Placenta abrupture. This is where the placenta comes away from the uterus wall and causes bleeding between the placenta and uterus. Causes for this are unknown, although smoking, high blood pressure, cocaine use or trauma can contribute to this happening
- Uterine rupture is a tear in the uterus and mostly occurs in women who have had previous surgery to the uterus, including previous caesarean section. It is very rare and usually only occurs at the very end of pregnancy or during labour. It is life threatening to the mom and baby, and needs to be treated straight away.
Seeking medical help
Bleeding should always be taken seriously, and you should let your health care provider know. They will want to check your cervix to see if it is dilated, check your urine for infection, and scan the uterus to see if the baby is still alive.
It helps your caregiver to know how much you have been bleeding and if you have passed any clots or tissue. When monitoring bleeding, you need to keep track of how many pads you need to change and in what space of time.
Also keep note of any clots that you pass, and how big they are. If you pass a clump of tissue, you need to take it with you when you go to the hospital or doctor.
Often, as with my episode, they can’t see any obvious cause and, you just have to wait and see.
We, as women, often want to know what we did wrong, and if there was anything we did to cause the bleeding. The answer is usually no.
As you can see from the list above, most of these things are not things the mother has any control over. Often if the bleeding stops it is just a game of wait and see and hoping it does not happen again.
In early pregnancy, especially if the cause of the threatened miscarriage is a chromosomal abnormality, no amount of bed rest will do anything to change the outcome. The body has decided to reject the pregnancy.
When the causes might be an irritable uterus, or problems with the cervix then bed rest might be indicated as a way of trying to prevent any further bleeding and allowing the pregnancy to progress as far as possible.
Bleeding in pregnancy is always traumatic. It has been 2 weeks since I first saw that bright red blood, and so far so good. It was not something I experienced in either of my other pregnancies and as much as I do not want to rush this, especially as it is my last pregnancy, I will be very glad to hold a healthy baby in my arms and not have to worry any more.
Find out about bleeding in early pregnancy and what happens when the bleeding does not stop.
Have you experienced bleeding in pregnancy? What was the cause?