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How Much Bleeding During Pregnancy Is Normal?

Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, MD · Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Oct 14, 2021

    How Much Bleeding During Pregnancy Is Normal?

    Pregnancy is one of the most delicate phases in a woman’s lifetime. That is why, any kind of bleeding during these times can be worrying. Normally, when pregnant women bleed, others quickly mistake it for a miscarriage. But bleeding during pregnancy does not always mean that there is something wrong. To calm your worries, let us find out how much bleeding during pregnancy is normal.

    how much bleeding during pregnancy is normal

    Is Bleeding a Normal Part of Pregnancy?

    Bleeding is common in pregnancy. Around 15% to 25% of the time, it is more prevalent during the first trimester of pregnancy. Most women who experienced early bleeding go on to have a healthy and successful pregnancy.

    However, bleeding can also happen in the latter weeks of pregnancy, where it can be more serious and alarming than in the early weeks.

    How Much Bleeding During Pregnancy Is Normal?

    how much bleeding during pregnancy is normal

    Implantation bleeding or spotting commonly occurs during the first two weeks after you conceive. This happens due to the implantation of the fertilized egg in the lining of the uterus.

    Spotting consists of droplets of blood that only becomes noticeable after you wipe your vagina with a tissue or if you notice a brownish, pinkish stain on your underwear.

    Remember that spotting is different from bleeding. Spotting refers to small amounts of blood or droplets, while bleeding is a heavy flow of blood that can completely soak a menstrual pad.

    Make sure to give your doctor a heads up if you experience any type of bleeding during pregnancy.

    What Causes Heavy Bleeding During Pregnancy?

    First Trimester

    The common causes of bleeding during the first trimester are:

    • Ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when the fertilized egg develops outside the uterus.
    • Miscarriage. Loss of pregnancy or death of the fetus before the 20th-week gestation.
    • Molar pregnancy. A pregnancy where an abnormally fertilized egg develops into multiple grape-like cysts admixed with blood, with or without some fetal parts
    • Threatened miscarriage. An occurrence of vaginal bleeding that indicates a woman’s risk of future miscarriage.
    • Subchorionic hematoma. The collection of blood between the uterine wall and the chorionic membrane or under the placenta.

    how much bleeding during pregnancy is normal

    Second and Third Trimester

    Vaginal bleeding on the second and third trimester is due to:

    • Miscarriage or fetal demise
    • Incompetent cervix. A weakness of the cervical tissue that may lead to preterm birth or loss of pregnancy.
    • Placental abruption. This occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine wall resulting in heavy vaginal bleeding.
    • Placenta previa. The placenta is located in an abnormally low position, situated near or over the cervical opening.   This may cause bleeding anytime during the pregnancy and more so during delivery.
    • Placenta accreta. This is a serious pregnancy complication that takes place when the placenta or a part of the placenta attaches itself tightly in the uterine wall. A pregnant woman who’s been diagnosed with this condition is at risk of having a life-threatening blood loss during delivery. This may be an indication to remove the uterus (hysterectomy) all together.
    • Preterm labor. A signal that the body is getting ready for labor. It usually happens after the 20th week and before the 37th week of pregnancy.

    When To See or Call Your Doctor

    Now that you know how much bleeding during pregnancy is normal, it will be easier for you to detect the signs if you need to call your doctor.

    Give your doctor a call if:

    • You notice light bleeding or spotting for the first time.
    • You experience vaginal bleeding for more than 24 hours.
    • Bleeding becomes moderate to heavy that comes with clumps of blood and tissue.
    • Vaginal bleeding accompanied by abdominal pain, cramping, or fever.

    Vaginal bleeding in the last few weeks of the third trimester might be an indication that you are going into labor.

    Make sure to contact your doctor right away to confirm whether you’re about to give birth or if it’s a sign of a pregnancy complication.

    Key Takeaways

    For expecting mothers, bleeding during pregnancy can be terrifying. Although it’s fairly common in about 20% of women, it is still the best option to inform your doctor about it.

    Always remember that spotting is different from bleeding. If you’ve been having moderate to heavy bleeding, call for an emergency so you can get all the required tests immediately.

    Also, remember to inform your partner and family members about the possible bleeding during pregnancy, so they’ll know what to do in case it happens.

    Learn more about Being Pregnant, here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mary Rani Cadiz, MD

    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Oct 14, 2021

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