The sight of vaginal bleeding can understandably be a cause for concern when you’re pregnant. There’s a tiny, vulnerable life growing inside you, so it’s no wonder that up to one in four women experience an anxiety disorder when they’re expecting. However, spotting — which is very light bleeding — while pregnant is actually very common and occurs in around 15% to 25% of pregnancies. So you can take comfort in knowing that if you experience it, you’re certainly not alone — and it doesn’t always mean something bad is happening.
But when should you speak to your doctor about bleeding and spotting during pregnancy? Continue reading to find out everything you need to know.
Defining pregnancy spotting
There’s a difference between pregnancy spotting and heavier bleeding, but you may not be clear on exactly what that is. Spotting is light bleeding that can last for a few hours to a couple of days, which you might notice in your underwear or on your tissue when you wipe after peeing. If it’s spotting, you’ll have less blood than you might expect with a light period, and it will be a red, pink, or brown color.
When might spotting occur in pregnancy?
Spotting can happen at any point throughout your pregnancy, as Dr. Nazaneen Homaifar, obstetrician and gynecologist, Washington, DC, US, explains. “Some people might notice spotting at the very beginning of pregnancy,” she explains. “The most common time to have spotting is in the first trimester, [but] you could have it in the second trimester or even in the third trimester. When people are in labor and their cervix is starting to dilate and open up and stretch, they might notice a little bit of spotting then as well.”
Generally, while it may not necessarily mean anything bad, any spotting or bleeding during pregnancy is something you should see your health care provider about. Try to remember that it could have a multitude of causes, and do your best to keep as calm as you can in this situation. Know that by reaching out, you will be in good hands.