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First-Trimester Bleeding

If you have vaginal bleeding at any time during pregnancy, report it to your doctor immediately. Vaginal bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage or premature labor during a pregnancy. But sometimes it is not, particularly in the first trimester.

During the first trimester of pregnancy:

  • Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is more common in women who have previously been pregnant than in women who are pregnant for the first time.
  • Very early spotting is sometimes the result of the fertilized egg implanting in the uterus. Implantation takes place 6 to 10 days after the sperm fertilizes the egg.
  • Bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage. Early bleeding during the first 6 weeks or so can be an early miscarriage called a blighted ovum. Although a gestational sac has developed, the fertilized egg has not developed into an embryo. This is usually caused by a chromosomal error in the early stages of cell formation. On an ultrasound, a blighted ovum is likely to look like an empty sac attached to the uterine wall.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised February 1, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 01, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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