Can You Get Your Period and Still be Pregnant?
In females, the period is the regular discharge of mucosal tissue and blood from the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina. It is triggered by falling progesterone levels and is an indicator that pregnancy has not occurred.
During pregnancy, you cannot get periods, however, you might still experience bleeding or spotting due to other reasons. The spotting is normally dark brown or light pink. There may be other symptoms too such as light cramping, fatigue, irritability and lower back pain
If there is enough bleeding to fill a tampon or pad, then it is a sign that you are probably not pregnant (as a rule of thumb). If you are bleeding heavily and have a positive pregnancy test, then you should seek medical care.
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What is a Period vs. Pregnancy?
In lieu of egg fertilising, your period occurs every month. Once a month, the eggs are released from the ovary. When it doesn’t fertilise, the egg travels out of the uterus and sheds through the vagina.
During a normal period, bleeding often starts light, then becomes dark red and heavier. Towards the end of the cycle, it lightens in quantity and colour.
The difference between being pregnant and menstruation is very clear: you don’t get periods anymore once you are pregnant.
Bleeding is a warning sign but it does not always mean something is wrong. Many people who experience spotting during their first trimester go on to have healthy babies. If you bleed during pregnancy, the reason will be something else than regular menstruation.
What is Period-like Bleeding during Pregnancy?
There are various causes of periods-like bleeding that might happen to an expectant mother during the first, second and third trimester.
During early pregnancy, around one out of four people experience spotting. Some of the causes attributed to this are:
- Implantation bleeding
- Changes in the cervix
- Abnormal mass fertilises instead of a foetus (molar pregnancy)
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Early signs of a miscarriage
These Causes can also be Accompanied by Some Additional Symptoms:
- Abdominal pain or severe cramps
- Back pain
- Losing consciousness or faintness
- Shoulder pain
- Vaginal discharge changes
- Vomiting and uncontrollable nausea
Implantation bleeding happens in the earliest stages of pregnancy. You likely haven’t gotten a pregnancy test yet at this point. This type of bleeding occurs when the fertilised egg implants into the uterus, normally around the time your period would be expected.
Implantation bleeding is often mistaken as a period, though the bleeding is usually just spotting or light.
You might also experience spotting from cervical changes shortly after pregnancy. This isn’t often a cause for concern unless there is an infection.
Second and Third Trimesters
Bleeding during the second and third trimesters requires an emergency visit from a doctor, irrespective of the symptoms. Some common causes of bleeding include:
- Cervical dilation or preterm labour or term
- Placenta previa
- Placental abruption
- Uterine rupture
- Vasa Previa
Any birth that happens before 37 weeks is referred to as preterm labour. Before preterm labour, some people experience a large amount of mucus discharge and symptoms similar to a period.
Preterm labour causes contractions and cramping. It might also cause backache, a sensation of pressure in the vagina and changes in discharge.
This occurs when the placenta is implanted very close to the cervix or low in the uterus. Placenta previa can hinder delivery and labour.
This happens usually during the last few months of pregnancy. There is cramping, severe stomach pain and bleeding when the placenta detaches from the uterus. The risk of placental abruption can be increased by certain health conditions like high blood pressure.
In a uterine rupture, the muscle of the uterus tears or separates, which can lead to uncontrolled bleeding. It happens mostly in people who have delivered via caesarean delivery in the past and occurs on the old scar lines along the uterus.
What are Period-like Cramps during Pregnancy?
One of the common signs of pregnancy is cramping. The cramps may seem a little milder or similar to what you usually experience during your period.
There can be other causes for abdominal cramping, like digestive ailments or gas. You may feel the cramps in your lower abdomen and they are normally sharp, however, they typically don’t last too long.
There is a general misconception regarding bleeding during pregnancy, which can be mistaken as a period by most people. While pregnancy makes the expectant mother a little edgy with respect to her baby, there is no need for panic if you have some minor spotting or bleeding due to any of the symptoms and causes mentioned above. It is essential to stay calm and seek help immediately.
To ascertain the cause of bleeding during your pregnancy, it is advisable to seek medical help from an experienced gynaecologist. Timely care and help can ensure any period-like symptoms during pregnancy are diagnosed and treated correctly.
At the CK Birla Hospital, we ensure patients get holistic medical support which includes treatment in a compassionate environment. This patient-centric approach not only helps patients heal better but also ensures they are aware of the preventive measures as well. In case you need to consult a gynaecologist, reach out to us, or book a direct appointment at the CK Birla Hospital.
In Which Month Do Periods Stop in Pregnancy?
After your body starts producing the pregnancy hormone (HCG), it becomes impossible to experience a period during pregnancy.
If I’m bleeding, How do I know I’m Pregnant?
Normally, there is spotting (dark brown or light pink) during early pregnancy. If you bleed enough to fill a tampon or a pad, it is a sign you are not pregnant.
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