March 31, 2008

Causes and Effects of Bleeding During Pregnancy

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Up to 30% of all pregnant women experience some form of vaginal bleeding in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and up to 10% of all pregnant women experience it during the third trimester. Any kind of bleeding from the vagina during pregnancy, be it spotting or a heavier flow of blood, should be reported immediately to your doctor.

During the first trimester, vaginal bleeding may be caused by hormonal changes or while the fertilized ovum gets attached to the walls of the uterus. However, more serious causes of vaginal bleeding include abnormal pregnancies such as molar pregnancies and ectopic pregnancies as well as miscarriages.

Second or third trimester vaginal bleeding may be caused by trauma to the cervix such as that caused by sex or a cervical examination. It may also be caused by infections or diseases of the vagina or cervix such as urinary tract infections and candidiasis, uterine fibroids or cervical polyps. More serious are conditions such as placenta pervia and placenta abruption. The former occurs when the placenta is implanted in the lower half of the uterus and the latter occurs when the placenta gets partially or completely detached from the wall of the uterus. The bleeding could also indicate a late term miscarriage or preterm labor.

The treatment for spotting or vaginal bleeding during pregnancy will depend on the underlying cause. For this, a proper diagnosis is essential, which is why consulting a doctor at the first sign of vaginal bleeding is essential. Home remedies for bleeding during pregnancy should not be attempted until a proper diagnosis has been made and the more serious causes such as an impending miscarriage have been ruled out.

A miscarriage cannot be predicted nor can it be prevented. However, you can take certain steps to increase the chances of having a normal pregnancy. The first step is to be regular in keeping appointments with your doctor and following his or her advice faithfully. Proper prenatal care will go a long way in ensuring that you have a pregnancy devoid of serious complications. Follow the diet plan outlined by your doctor and make sure you do not put on too much weight during your pregnancy.

If you are a smoker or chew tobacco, quit now. Other substances to avoid include caffeinated beverages, alcohol and street drugs such as cocaine and heroin. If you suffer from an underlying condition such as diabetes or hypertension, then make sure that your condition is under control.

Other precautions that you can take include reporting any kind of abnormal vaginal discharge to your doctor. Once your doctor has given you a clean bill of health and you know there is no cause for concern, you may try certain home remedies to stop the bleeding during your pregnancy. The first step is to stop all forms of activity and rest in bed the whole day. Total bed rest will allow the placenta to attach firmly and will reduce the chances of a miscarriage.

Taking a folic acid supplement will also benefit both the placenta and the womb and will also help decrease the chances of a miscarriage. Folic acid will also protect the fetus from developmental defects.

Abstaining from sex is also necessary if you are experiencing any kind of spotting or mild bleeding. This is necessary in cases where the bleeding is caused by a trauma to the cervix as sexual intercourse will only aggravate the injury. Avoid inserting any foreign objects into the vagina for the same reason and avoid douching as well.