Bleeding during Pregnancy

Parent Q&A

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  • I have a history of early miscarriages and am finally pregnant again after several years of treatments.  I am not having any bleeding at this time but a large SCH was diagnosed on my 6 week ultrasound and I was put on pelvic rest.  Has anyone had experience with SCHs or bleeding in early pregnancy?  Also, can anyone recommend the best MFMs, perinatologists, or high risk OBs in the East Bay or San Francisco?  I have been working with another OB who I adore but his practice is over an hour's drive away so I will likely need someone more local.  This may be a tall order, but I need to find someone who is willing to be somewhat collaborative with other doctors-- as I am being treated by an immunologist and rheumatologist for underlying autoimmune issues which I believe contributed to or caused my past miscarriages.  I'd like to continue this treatment throughout pregnancy as much as possible-- but I know a lot of MFMs/high risk OBs will frown on this.  Thank you so much for any recommendations or advice!    

    I went to San Francisco Perinatal for both of my high risk pregnancies.  Unfortunately, the practice appears to have closed.  For my last pregnancy, I saw Dr. Michael Katz, who I cannot recommend enough.  He has a great bedside manner, but also does not mince words.  I believe he is still affiliated with CPMC.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Heavy bleeding suring first trimester

Oct 2006

I'm 34 yrs. old and 7 weeks pregnant with my second child. First pregnancy was a breeze. But this time around, I'm having scary complications. Twice in the last week I've had to go to the ER with bleeding (first time was moderate, second time was heavier than a period). Cramps have been mild to severe. Both times I thought for sure I was having a miscarriage, but when I got to the hospital and they did an ultrasound, they said the baby was fine. The only explanation I've been given is that the placenta hasn't attached right, (they called this ''subchorionic bleeding'') and that we need to wait and see if it will heal itself or get worse (and lead to miscarriage). The doctors said no sex (as if that was even a consideration right now) and I should rest as much as I can for a week, but otherwise, I can do normal activity. The whole thing has been traumatic -- I think it would be much easier to have a miscarriage and start over, but instead we're in this strange limbo. I've actually considered having an abortion and starting over (I get pregnant very easily) but now that I've seen the baby's heartbeat, I can't imagine doing it. They said if I do carry the baby to term, that it will not suffer any effects from the bleeding, which I find hard to believe, but of course, I hope its true. If you've had a similar experience, I'd love to hear about it. Did you do bedrest? Did you end up having a miscarriage? Did you end up having the baby? What should I know?
hoping this will just go away

So sorry you're dealing with this. This happened to us three times during my partner's pregnancy, and it was very stressful and scary. But now we have a beautiful little boy, almost 2 yrs, old, and he is fine. The bleeding was from a small tear in the placenta, probably caused when she lifted something too heavy. It wasn't until the third episode of bleeding (!) that our doctor ordered a more thorough ultrasound to find the source. And at that point she put my partner on 2 weeks bedrest, so that the tear could heal. After that, there was no more bleeding. We had to be kind of pushy with the doctors, especially in getting them to agree that bed rest could help. So I would suggest not waiting to bleed again, since each time *does* put the pregnancy at risk, but to suggest an ultrasound/bed rest to your doctor, and unless he/she totally vetoes them, to go ahead and do them. Glad we rested
I bled through the first trimesters of both of my pregnancies, and my daughters were born quite healthy. They are 6 and 9 years old now, and have had normative developmental trajectories with no health concerns. It was certainly scary while I was bleeding, but I took it as a sign that my body needed more rest. I noticed that when I was off my feet more, moving around less, the bleeding was lighter, etc. As per my doctor's request, I cut back on all exercise, including walking up and down the hills to get from where I parked my car to where my UCB office was. After the first trimester the bleeding stopped, and I was able to resume much of my normal routine except exercise class. Hang in there, mom of two girls
Hello, I also had an awful first pregnancy with a lot of bleeding due to a placenta that didn't attach right. The baby ended up being born quite prematurely and had an extended hospital stay. I was on strict bedrest for over 6 weeks and also hospitalized a few times for placental abruptions. The baby was quite small for gestational age. He continues to be small to this day. The good news is that he is exceptionally bright and is healthy. If you would like to chat more, you can ask the moderator for my e-mail -been there
I, too, had subchorionic bleeding during my second pregnancy. It was horrible, and like you, I sometimes wished that if I was going to have a miscarriage, it would go ahead and happen. But it didn't, and, by the end of the second trimester, the bleeding had pretty much stopped (once the baby's big enough, it sort of stops up the leak). I had a perfect, wonderful baby who is now a perfect, wonderful 6 year old. I did spend about a month and half lying down (ugh) most of the time and I did take a muscle relaxant to stop the cramps. I can't remember what it was called. It was a dreadful time, but everything turned out okay
Oy, do I know those feelings! When I was 3 weeks pregnant (on New Year's Eve of all times), I started bleeding heavily and having cramps. I thought for sure I was having a miscarriage and immediately started grieving for the little baby that was to be. I put my feet up, got a doctor's appt. and waited. Same thing happened to me -- when we had an ultrasound the heartbeat was there, loud and clear. I realized that not only did I want to be pregnant (this was my first pregnancy) but that I wanted *this* baby. I continued to bleed off and on throughout the first four months of the pregnancy, sometimes lightly and sometimes heavily.

Cramping eased up somewhere in the second month. Little did I know that 1 in 4 women have bleeding during their pregnancy. I tried to take it easy but the thing that I found worked best was getting acupuncture. It was a moment to relax, let go, and be with everything that was going on. It felt wonderful! In the end, I feel like my body was just clearing out all the old gunk to make room for my little girl. The pregnancy continued on and I'm the proud mama of a 13 month-old. I know it can be scary, but I learned that it was all about letting go and letting be. Good luck!

I had heavy bleeding with clots when I was about 7 weeks pregnant and 30 years old (last year). I thought for sure I had miscarried but the ultrasound showed that everything was fine. My doctor told me to just take it easy. I then had more spotting at 15 weeks. I went on bedrest until it stopped - about a week. I didn't have any more spotting and had a perfectly healthy 10 pound baby boy at 41 weeks. So don't worry, your baby will never know! Oakland mom
Hi there, We went through something similar. My partner is now 15 weeks pregnant, but started spotting (with one episode of heavy bleeding) at week 9. She's been on bed rest since then. The diagnosis is a subchorionic hematoma (blood clot in uterus). It seems now that the clot has reabsorbed as it's not seen on the most recent ultrasound, but to be confirmed by dr this week. The concern was that the clot would burst or grow very large and damage the placenta. We've also read that the clot can just stay there throughout the pregnancy. There also seems to be some differing advice on bed rest, but we thought, ''better safe than sorry''. I think these clots and ''bleeds'' are more common than we think. We found quite a bit of info online, which was comforting as most led to successful births. Good Luck
I have been in your shoes. I am happy to report...that child is now three years old, but I bled all the way to week 20 and then had a placental abruption the day before she was born at 33 weeks (due to pre-eclampsia). The good news is, she is healthy - but it was an extremeley long and scary pregnancy. Good luck Hang in there!
Gosh, I'm really sorry to hear about your complications. I know it can be terrible to have bleeding during pregnancy. While it's best to trust your doctors on the medical stuff, you might check out Sidelines, an organization that helps women with complicated pregnancies. Theu helped me LOTS while I was on bedrest for a number of problems, including bleeding. Good luck sign me, the baby was healthy!
My Story: I was thirty years old, and the day I found out I was pregnant, I started bleeding. Mostly it was spotting, but I bled heavily several times. My ob just shrugged his shoulders. He suggested I lay in bed and forget about sex, but he couldn't even say why he thought intercourse or orgasms or exercise were bad, so I ignored his advice. I rode my bike, walked, and lived as normal a life as I could in that uncomfortable limbo. At five months, I stopped bleeding.

The birth of my baby was natural and normal. However, the ob put traction on the cord, breaking it. As a result, I got general anesthesia for removal of the placenta. I was fine, she was fine, but I wondered every day for about three years if she was suffering as a result of that bleeding. She met all developmental milestones. Finally, the worries faded to some degree. That kid has now graduated from college, got engaged and found a job. She was a great kid and now she is a wonderful adult. She has her quirks, but doesn't everybody? I hope your experience is even better than mine.

I just wanted to give some reassurance about the bleeding you are experiencing. After having a couple of miscarriages, when I was pregnant with my daughter I had very heavy, sudden bleeding at about 6 weeks and, of course, thought it was a miscarriage. After going to emergency and seeing that the heartbeat, it seemed that all was well. It was really hard for me to believe, but all was well. One theory the doctor had was that I had a twin that did miscarry, but the other was fine?? Who knows. One big factor is how your hormone levels are tracking - if they are going up as they are suppposed to, all may be well. Good luck, it is a long 12 weeks when you fear miscarriage
Been There

Bleeding in early pregnancy

March 2005

I have been lightly bleeding and spotting and am 9 weeks pregnant. My doctor gave me progesterone to take since it was low, but I am concerned that it has not gone away. I had an ultrasound which was ok. I am just getting concerned because I don't know whether this will go away on its own as the pregnancy progresses. I have been trying to take it easy, but I am wondering if anyone had this similar problem. Thank you for any comments. becky

Yes, I had bleeding early in pregnancy.

The first time was for a few days, and my OB told me that it is not uncommon for this to happen when the -Corpus Luteum stops producing all the pregnacy hormones, and the placenta takes over, the uterus can get confusing hormone signals for a little while, causing it to shed a little of the uterine lining.

Then, a few weeks later (at about 9 or 10 weeks, like you) I started bleeding again. It didn't stop after a few days. In fact, I bled for nearly a month. Mostly spotting, but sometimes heavier. Sometimes, quite bit heavier (usually, this was in the morning when I first got up, so I think it was just that it had built up over night).

ANYWAY, I went in for more ultra-sounds, and the baby was FINE. So, we made an appointment for a more sophisticated ultra sound, to check for placenta previa (when the placenta covers the cervix). I didn't have placenta previa (whew!) but I did have a LOW placenta, which meant that it was within easy reach of baby's feet - my sweet little fetus was KICKING the placenta, causing it to bleed. This condition usually corrects itself, with the placenta moving higher (out of reach of baby!) as the uterus grows larger. It seems to have corrected itself, I'm now at 4.5 months and haven't had any bleeding for about a month (yay!). VERY disconcerting. I recommend that you ask your doctor --if it continues-- to check for placenta previa or low placenta, to see if the baby is kicking it.

BTW: even if you have placenta previa, this early on it's not such a big deal, just like a low placenta, placenta previa corrects itself 90% of the time.

Best to you! I know how scary this is, but as long as the baby is ok, it's probably not terribly serious. Been there!

I also had light bleeding during my first trimester (I'm now in my second). My bleeding only lasted a few days. Light bleeding is common during the first trimester, but I would still be careful. As long as it is not associated with cramping, I think you are ok. Take is easy and if the bleeding continues I would definitely go back to the doctor. Best, Dona.
I am sorry to hear about the bleeding you have been having. I just wanted to tell you that I, too, had first trimester bleeding with both of my children. I spotted for about 1 week with my first and spotted and blead (enough to have to wear pads) for 3 weeks with my second. Even though the ultrasounds looked fine I was convinced that the pregnancies were going to end. All turned out fine for me and I hope the best for you. PS - Check out the Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy. If I recall correctly the author says she had first trimester bleeding with 3 healthy pregnancies.
Hi: I had exactly the same thing happen to me during two pregnancies. My first pregnancy was completely uneventful, with no bleeding at all. I then had a miscarriage, with bleeding at about 8 weeks. My third pregnancy also had slight bleeding at about 8 weeks - I, too, was on progesterone. Of course, I completely freaked out because of the previous miscarriage, but an ultrasound showed everything was fine. The bleeding did last on and off for a couple of weeks, but then disappeared. My now 7 year old daughter is completely healthy. I had bleeding at the same time (8 or 9 weeks) with my youngest child, now 5. It, too, disappeared after a couple of weeks. Hope this helps
I bled on and off (nearly every day) from about 5 weeks to about 12 weeks--mainly blackish spotting, only once or twice a slightly heavy red discharge. I even bled after an ultrasound detected a heartbeat and I was told to ''stop worrying.'' I now have a totally healthy 15 month old baby--I was so frightened the whole time it was happening and had virtually no examples that it all CAN work out beautifully! I did stay in bed as much as possible, and also was seeing a brilliant Chinese pre-natal specialist who does accupuncture and herbs... I think it was really helpful. Her name is Lifang Liang in San Francisco at 450 Sutter (415) 834-1612. Best of luck! anon
I don't know why more OB-GYN office don't harp on this, but if you have been seen and you've been told this isn't serious spotting, and it will go away in time or to just watch it, try drinking a lot of water. As in way more than you think you need. I spotted for 8 weeks, and I've had friends that spotted for weeks. When we all upped the amount of water we were drinking, the spotting stopped.

Good luck! Gretchen

Hi Becky,

It's scary isn't it? I started bleeding around my third week and continued pretty consistently (and heavily) until my 11th or so. I did two ultrasounds and in both cases the embryo/fetus/baby was viable. I am now into my 15th week and am no longer bleeding -- big sigh or relief.

No Western medicine doctor had an explanation, though an ultrasound tech said that she thought I had little bubbles of blood that were bursting, like air bubbles under wallpaper. My acupuncturist said I had old, stagnant blood in my uterus and this was my body's way of clearing it out to make room for the baby. So, no definitive ''this is why you're bleeding.''

From what I read, 1 out 4 women have bleeding and many go on to carry the child full-term. Guess it's just one of those things they don't tell you about pregnancy. Obviously, I'd suggest continuing to check and make sure everything is okay, but otherwise...well, for me, it was about waiting it out.

Good luck! and best wishes! Ericka

Blood clots in the first trimester

Feb 2004

Hello, I am 11 weeks pregnant. Since I got pregnant, my Obgyn recommended not to have intercourse. I have had two miscarriages prior to this pregnancy and a successful pregnancy before that. This is my fourth pregnancy. I have had some bleeding but only at the time to wipe after using the restroom and only on three occasions. Everything was going well but I couldn\\222t resist to \\223touch myself\\224. That was last Saturday. Then I had dinner and I was going to the restroom to brush my teeth and go to bed when I felt some liquid gushing down, I hurried and then I felt something coming out of me. It was blood and a palm size blood clot. We kept it for the doctors at the ER. When I got there I had to go to the restroom again where I dropped a second one not as big as the first one. They checked the blood clots, they heard the baby\\222s heart bit and that was the end of it. They could not explain why that was happening. I went to se my Obgyn on Tuesday, he said everything was fine, baby is growing fine and moving, his heart bit was fine\\205I am writing all this because today, 20 minutes ago, I started bleeding again\\205what I find really unusual is that today I have been feeling sexually excited and building up by itself with no stimulation\\205then I started bleeding\\205 Is there any relation between the two? Did someone has had the same experience or similar? For the moment I am on bed rest and waiting for my doctor to call me back. puzzled pregnant woman

I had a very similar experience when I was pregnant. At 6 weeks I passed a rather large blood clot, and I thought I was having a miscarriage. Everything was fine, but I would have small amounts of blood when I wiped myself after peeing. I noticed that this would happen after orgasm, and it didn't matter if there was penetration. I asked my midwife and OB/gyn, and neither had ever heard of this. I even tried to research this on the internet, with no success. I stopped being sexual for the rest of my pregnancy for fear of miscarriage. It wasn't till later that I met a midwife who told me that she had seen a lot of women have this happen, and that it waS related to the blood vessels in the cervix that can burst when a woman gets excited or orgasms. I don't know if she's right, but I thought I'd let you know what I know. Feel free to email me if you want to talk.
Since you seem to be having clots and having a tendency to miscarry, I would recommend ''pelvic rest'', which means no sex, self or otherwise. Since orgasm causes contractions in your uterus, that may be the cause of your problem. If you haven't asked, please ask your ob for further clarity about what constitutes no sex and when/if you can be released. I know it's difficult, but if you want this baby, you really have to wait til it's safe. anon