5 Common Reasons for First Trimester Bleeding and Causes and Treatment

5 Common Reasons for First Trimester Bleeding and Causes and Treatment

During your first trimester i.e, the first three months of pregnancy, your body undergoes a lot of dramatic changes. While you may feel that you are fitting well into your jeans, there is actually a lot going inside your body, which includes hormonal changes; building a new blood flow system. Hence, with so much happening inside your body, it is common to bleed during the first trimester.

According to certain studies, 30% of women have experienced light bleeding or spotting during their first trimester. This may sound alarming, but don’t worry, many women experience some bleeding and in the end go on to have healthy pregnancy and labour.

There are several reasons as to why you might find bleeding or vaginal spotting during the first trimester. So, let us look at some of the common causes in this write-up:

  • Implantation bleeding – Implantation is the attachment of the fertilized egg to the wall of the uterus during the inception, i.e., during 6-12 days after you have conceived. To get nutrition and oxygen, the fertilized egg floats and has to attach itself to the uterine. This settling in turn leads to bleeding or light spotting.

Implantation bleeding just happens before you expect your period to begin. Sometimes, this kind of bleeding can be mistaken for a light period. Some of the symptoms which are similar to PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) are:

  • Nausea
  • Tender breasts
  • Mild cramping
  • Lower backache
  • Headaches

Implantation bleeding is lighter in colour when compared to that of the period, which is usually pink or dull brown in colour. It usually lasts from a few hours to a couple of days, but don’t worry this does not involve heavy bleeding.

  • Cervical polyp – These polyps are usually benign and do not end up causing cancer. However, they can be irritative and can lead to bright red bleeding. Cervical polyps can be diagnosed during a routine pelvic exam and may not exhibit any other symptoms at all.
  • Miscarriage – Sometimes, what begins as lighter bleeding may end up becoming heavy bleeding. If you are having heavy bleeding along with pain during your first trimester, then it may be linked to miscarriage. Up to 20% of all pregnancies lead to miscarriage. You might experience these symptoms if you are going through a miscarriage:
    • Pain in your lower stomach
    • Heavy vaginal bleeding
    • Bleeding that is brown or bright red in colour
    • Severe cramping
    • Sharp pain in the lower back
    • Passing blood clots

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then call your doctor immediately. Sometimes, you can still have bleeding and experience other symptoms of miscarriage without having miscarried. This is referred to as threatened abortion.

Causes of threatened abortion include:

  • Infection
  • Trauma near the stomach area
  • Exposure to certain medications
  • Carrying multiple babies – If you are pregnant with twins, then there are greater chances of experiencing implantation bleeding during the first trimester. Miscarriages are more common in the first trimester if you are pregnant with more than one baby.
  • Ectopic pregnancy – If the fertilized egg attaches somewhere outside the womb, then it is referred to as ectopic pregnancy. Most ectopic pregnancies happen in the fallopian tubes, which is the connection between the ovaries and the womb. It can be less common than a miscarriage but has to be medically treated.

Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Severe cramping
  • Rectal pressure
  • Light or heavy bleeding
  • Sharp waves of pain

When To Seek Medical Attention?

Apart from bleeding, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then seek your healthcare provider’s attention immediately:

  • Intense cramping
  • Severe pain
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Severe nausea
  • Discharge with clots or tissue
  • Chills
  • Dizziness or fainting


Some issues like cervical polyp, which are caused during the first trimester can be cured in your healthcare provider’s clinic. Other issues may need surgery, medication, or treatment.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications such as:

  • Misoprostol – This medication is used to end dangerous pregnancies in the first 7 weeks.
  • Methotrexate – A drug that helps your body to absorb harmful tissues like that of an ectopic pregnancy.

It is recommended to follow-up appointments to check on your pregnancy and health. Your healthcare provider will ensure that there is no leftover tissue or any scarring that is left in your womb. Your doctor will advise on when it is safe to conceive again if that is what you want.

It can be devastating, but a miscarriage at any point in your pregnancy is considered a loss. To help you feel better and let the grieve fade away, talking to a therapist or a counsellor can help you.


It is alarming when you bleed in your first trimester. But in certain cases, light bleeding and spotting are just a normal part of your early pregnancy. Heavy bleeding can be a sign of something more serious, and hence, it is recommended to consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding bleeding.

Apart from light bleeding and spotting, there are certain causes of the first trimester that are considered not harmful to you and your baby:

  • Cervical polyps
  • Implantation
  • Yeast infection
  • Uterine infection
  • Pregnant with multiple babies

Certain other serious causes of the bleeding in the first trimester are:

  • Molar pregnancy
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Threatened abortion
  • Subchorionic haemorrhage

Remember that pregnancy can be a roller coaster of symptoms and emotions. Above all, keep the people you love in the loop. So discuss with someone about what you are going through, even if your symptoms are completely normal. This can make your experience much easier!

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