Bleeding in Early Pregnancy
Spotting (very light bleeding) can also be caused by conditions unrelated to pregnancy. A vaginal infection, such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, or a sexually transmitted disease (such as trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or herpes) can cause your cervix to become irritated or inflamed. An inflamed cervix is particularly susceptible to spotting after sex or after a Pap smear. You may also spot or bleed after sex or a Pap smear if you have a cervical polyp (a benign growth).
Vaginal spotting or bleeding in early pregnancy can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic means "out of place." In this case, a fertilized egg has implanted outside the uterus (see Ectopic Pregnancy).
In over 95 percent of ectopic pregnancies, the egg settles in the fallopian tubes. This is why ectopic pregnancies are commonly called "tubal pregnancies." The egg can also implant in the ovary, abdomen (stomach), or the cervix, so you may see these referred to as cervical or abdominal pregnancies.
Pain is usually the first major sign of an ectopic pregnancy. A woman might feel pain in her pelvis, abdomen, or even the shoulder or neck (if blood from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy builds up and irritates certain nerves). Most women describe the pain as sharp and stabbing.
In early pregnancy, bleeding doesn't mean that miscarriage is certain, but it can occur. About half of the women who bleed do not have miscarriages. Miscarriage can occur at any time during the first half of pregnancy. Most occur during the first 12 weeks and in about 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies.
Bleeding from a possible miscarriage may or may not have abdominal pain associated with it. The blood loss may be brown spotting, blood-stained discharge, or bright red bleeding. The amount of bleeding is proportional to the risk of miscarriage; the greater the bleeding, the greater the risk of miscarriage. So, heavy bleeding in early pregnancy is not a good sign. Also, abdominal pain associated with the bleeding is not a good sign either.