Bleeding in early pregnancy

Bleeding in early pregnancy can be a very worrying symptom, but it is surprisingly common.  By definition, bleeding is never normal, and should always be checked by your care provider, even if it just a quick phone call.

Bleeding early in pregnancy may be due to:

  • Hormonal changes in early pregnancy
  • Implantation bleeding (when the fertilised egg implants in the uterus)

If you see your midwife or doctor for bleeding in early pregnancy, depending on the stage of your pregnancy, they may request blood tests to determine your pregnancy hormone levels, and these may be performed a few days apart to assess the rate of change in the hormone levels.  They may also request an ultrasound scan to determine the health  and well-being of the baby and help to determine the cause of the bleeding.  Generally, ultrasounds are performed in pregnancies beyond 6-8 weeks, while blood tests would be performed in pregnancies that are less than 6-7 weeks.  In some cases, your cervix may be examined to ensure that it is closed.

Most of the time, slight bleeding in early pregnancy resolves and is harmless to the baby, however all bleeding should be checked by your midwife or doctor because sometimes bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage; when this occurs, there is usually cramping and heavy bleeding. 

Melissa Maimann is an endorsed eligible midwife in private practice in Sydney.  One of the first eligible midwives in Australia, Melissa now offers a range of care options for women including private midwifery care, antenatal shared care and birth support.  Visit Melissa's website to learn more about her services.