Bleeding in early pregnancy - painBleeding in Early Pregnancy is very worrying. Bleeding in early pregnancy is classified as bleeding before a pregnancy has reached 11 weeks. Bleeding during early pregnancy is very common in the first 12 weeks and is particularly common in weeks 5-8. Almost 1 in 5 pregnancies will have bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy.

There are varying degrees of bleeding, from light spotting, light brownish spotting to heavy bleeding.


What Should I Do If I Experience Bleeding In Early Pregnancy?

The best thing to do if you are concerned about bleeding in early pregnancy is to make an appointment to see Dr Penman. Dr Penman usually offers same-day appointments for patients suffering with early pregnancy bleeding.


Bleeding in early pregnancyBooking An Emergency Appointment

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What Are The Different Types Of Early Pregnancy Bleeding?


Spotting is likened to a brownish/pink discharge similar to the end of a period. Spotting occurs in 1/3 of all pregnancies and often poses no threat to the success of the pregnancy.

Many women who have experienced bleeding in the early stages of their pregnancies go on to have perfectly healthy babies. Some may experience problems later on in the pregnancy but bleeding and/or cramping in early pregnancy does not necessarily herald the onset of miscarriage.


Whereas spotting is likened to a brownish/pink discharge, bleeding is a bright red discharge that soaks into a pad or panty liner. The volume of blood can also help you determine whether you are experiencing spotting or bleeding – a small amount would indicate spotting, whereas a larger volume would indicate bleeding.


What Are The Serious Causes Of Early Pregnancy Bleeding?

Bleeding in early pregnancy

Occasionally there are more serious complications of early pregnancy that causes bleeding and/or cramping in early pregnancy – these symptoms need to be assessed, and immediate medical advice should be sought. These serious causes include:


It is possible that heavy bleeding in early pregnancy is heralding the onset of a miscarriage. Often, a miscarriage occurs before a women even realizes she is pregnant. Miscarriages are unavoidable, and are rarely caused by anything the mother has done.

For more information on miscarriage, please click on the button below.



Ectopic Pregnancy 

An ectopic pregnancy is when the developing embryo embeds outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. This leads to severe pain, heavy bleeding and is a medical emergency. Immediate emergency medical support should be sought.

For more information on ectopic pregnancy, please click on the button below.



What Are The Non-Serious Causes Of Early Pregnancy Bleeding?

Bleeding in early pregnancy


As the fertilised egg attaches to the uterine wall, a level of bleeding can occur. This is usually in the form of light spotting or streaking and does not tend to last for more than 3 days. This may well occur around the time your period would be due.


Breakthrough Bleed

A breakthrough bleed is another possible cause for spotting in early pregnancy. This is thought to be due to the fact that the pregnancy hormones are not necessarily high enough in the early stages of pregnancy to stop a light period.


Hormonal Changes 

As the body gets used to the pregnancy hormones, the cervix becomes softened and is more likely to bleed during or after intercourse.



This can be another likely cause of light/moderate bleeding in early pregnancy and something that can be easily treated.


Bleed With No Clear Cause

Sometimes no cause can be found for the bleeding.  If the bleeding is light and settles, this is a very good sign that the baby is well.