How Much Bleeding Is Normal In Early Pregnancy?

How Much Bleeding Is Normal In Early Pregnancy?

About 20 percent of women experience bleeding during pregnancy, especially during the first 12 weeks. The good news is that bleeding does not always indicate a pregnancy problem. However, it is important to watch for heavy bleeding or bright red blood.  

Common causes of bleeding in early pregnancy

Implantation Bleeding

During early pregnancy, the embryo attaches itself to the uterus wall. When this occurs, you may notice slight spotting around the time your period should start. However, you will not have a regular period.

Cervical Changes

In early pregnancy, your cervix becomes high and soft. Versus, when preparing for your period, your cervix drops lower in your vagina and is hard. Sometimes these changes to the cervix during early pregnancy may cause slight bleeding.


If you experience bleeding during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, it may be a sign you are having a miscarriage. The main symptoms of a miscarriage include: 

  • Vaginal bleeding with cramping 
  • Discharge of fluid
  • Discharge containing tissue 
  • Decrease in pregnancy symptoms

Ectopic Pregnancy 

An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg does not reach the uterus and instead implants into the fallopian tubes. 

Molar Pregnancy

Molar pregnancy is very rare in which abnormal tissue grows inside the uterus and creates a tumor. This tumor ends up resulting in the loss of the baby. A molar pregnancy occurs when the egg and sperm do not join correctly and form an embryo. 

What are the most common causes of bleeding during the second and third trimesters? 

Placenta Abruption: This is a rare condition in which the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus. 

Preterm Labor: Preterm labor is labor that occurs earlier than 37 weeks of pregnancy. A baby is considered full-term at 39 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm labor is also associated with other symptoms such as contractions and the rupture of your membranes (water breaking). 

Placenta Previa:  Placenta previa is when the placenta covers all or some of your cervix. Usually, by 20 weeks, placenta previa resolves on its own. 

Incompetent Cervix: This only occurs in about 1 in 100 pregnancies. An incompetent Cervix is when the cervix dilates too early in pregnancy and induces labor. 

What does early pregnancy bleeding look like?

If you notice light bleeding around the start of your period and wonder if this is your period or implantation bleeding? You are not alone. Many women mistake implantation bleeding for their period. There are a few ways to spot the difference between early pregnancy bleeding and your period. 

The main differences include the following: 

  • The amount of bleeding 
    • Implantation bleeding is very similar to the spotting you may notice during ovulation. In addition, the spotting may be similar to discharge, that is, only a few droplets of blood. Therefore, you may only need a light pad or a panty liner. 
  • The color of the blood
    • Implantation blood: Pink or brown in color. It only lasts one to two days at most. 
    • A period: Fresh flow of bright red blood. It lasts between 4 to 7 days.

How much bleeding is normal during early pregnancy?

During the first 20 weeks, it is not uncommon for you to have spotting during early pregnancy. However, bleeding during pregnancy may be a sign of something more serious. Therefore, it is vital to recognize what amount of bleeding is normal during pregnancy. Spotting during pregnancy is normal and may only be a few drops of blood. The spotting should be so light that you may only need a panty liner. If you are leaking through a panty liner or need a pad to prevent your underwear from being soiled, it may be a sign to see a doctor. 

Tips for managing early pregnancy bleeding

Bleeding during early pregnancy may feel scary, but it is important to remember that it is more common than you may think. Only 1 out of 3 women who experience early pregnancy bleeding end in a miscarriage. While there is no way to prevent early pregnancy bleeding, there are ways to help with bleeding, including:  

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Wear leak proof underwear
  • Avoid sexual intercourse while you are spotting. 
  • Keep a detailed history of bleeding and how much blood is present. 
  • Keep an eye out for the color of blood. The doctor can tell a lot from the color of the blood.
  • Do not use a tampon
  • See a doctor if you have concerns. 

When to consider calling a doctor:

See your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you experience bleeding during pregnancy accompanied by:

  • Sudden heavy bleeding
  • Bleeding with abdominal pain and cramping
  • Dizziness 
  • Pain in your pelvis

How Proof® can help

Proof Leak Proof® underwear is a reusable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional pads. Leak proof underwear is also great for the discharge and spotting associated with pregnancy. But the benefits of leak proof underwear don't stop there. After you give birth, you may bleed for up to six weeks after birth. Leak proof underwear allows you to move with your baby and focus on adjusting to a new baby instead of frequent pad changes. The heavy flow leak proof underwear can hold up to eight teaspoons of fluid equivalent to 4 regular tampons. Once your period resumes, leak proof period underwear is perfect for your period needs. One pair of period underwear may last up to two to three years with proper laundering.

Closing thoughts

Pregnancy is an exciting time for many women. It is a significant life event that brings on many new experiences, whether your first pregnancy or your third. Not all pregnancy bleeding is cause for concern, but it is essential to be transparent with your doctor if you notice any bright red bleeding. No two pregnancies are the same, so enjoy every unique experience you have with your pregnancy and newborn. 

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