Pregnancy Home > Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

A variety of factors during early pregnancy can cause bleeding. Pink bleeding can be caused by implantation bleeding. Infections, an impending miscarriage, or an ectopic pregnancy can also cause other types of bleeding. Heavy bleeding in early pregnancy requires immediate medical attention, as it may be an indication of a miscarriage.

Bleeding in Early Pregnancy: The Facts

Many women experience some bleeding from the vagina during pregnancy. In fact, about one in four women will experience vaginal bleeding in the first three months of pregnancy. Of these women, 70 to 80 percent will continue their pregnancies to full term. But bleeding at any stage of pregnancy is not considered normal. If you are pregnant and bleeding, call your doctor or midwife.

Causes of Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

A number of factors can cause vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy (that is, the first trimester). These factors can include:
  • Implantation bleeding
  • Infections
  • Implantation of the fertilized egg outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy)
  • Spontaneous abortion (miscarriage).
Each of these causes is explained in more detail in the sections that follow.
Implantation Bleeding
Implantation bleeding occurs right around the time a woman would normally be getting her period. It is lighter bleeding than menstrual bleeding and consists of blood that is either pink or brown. Implantation bleeding only lasts a day or two. It may be caused by the fertilized egg burrowing into the wall of the uterus -- a process that starts just six days after fertilization -- but no one knows the exact cause for sure. Only a minority of women experience implantation bleeding.
Click below to continue reading about other possible causes of early bleeding, including infections, ectopic pregnancy, or a miscarriage.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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