Is it Possible to have Periods during Pregnancy?

                       Is it Possible to have Periods during Pregnancy?


Menstruation happens when the hormones in your body indicate your ovaries to release a matured egg. During your periods, hormones like estrogen and progesterone make the eggs in your ovaries mature. When this egg has been released the process of ovulation starts. Many women don’t feel it when they ovulate. But you might detect the ovulation by these ovulation symptoms are bloating, spotting, or a little pain in your lower abdomen that you may only feel on one side.

So, once the egg leaves the ovaries, it travels through one of your fallopian tubes and toward your uterus. These hormones make the uterus lining thick.  When and if your egg gets fertilized, these fertilised eggs attach themselves to the lining of the uterus and start a pregnancy. This uterus lining is made of tissue and blood.

When the eggs mature it means the eggs are ready to be fertilized by a sperm cell. If your eggs do not get fertilised your body doesn’t need the thick lining in your uterus. This lining then breaks down, and the blood, nutrients, and tissue flow out of your body through your vagina. And, this shedding of the uterus lining is how menstruation starts.

Periods in Pregnancy

During a menstrual cycle, the uterus sheds the lining that gets built up in case of a pregnancy. A woman can have uterine bleeding during pregnancy but it will not be due to a period. In fact, a period will not be the cause of any bleeding during pregnancy.

When a woman gets pregnant, she does not ovulate and thus will not have a period. Women menstruate when she is not pregnant. Though it can be possible for women to experience some bleeding when they are pregnant but this will not be due to their menstrual cycle.

Some women do not get their periods while breast-feeding. However, they may begin to ovulate soon again after giving birth. So, doctors may advice you to get on some form of birth control while you are breast-feeding if you do not want to get pregnant. The menstrual cycle occurs to help facilitate pregnancy. The menstrual cycle begins on the first day of a woman’s period and it ends on the first day of the next period.

Other causes of bleeding during pregnancy

Even though a woman will not get her period when she is pregnant, she may still have some bleeding. While bleeding during pregnancy is not a sign of any underlying problem, it is still important to understand the potential causes of the bleeding and when you should speak to a doctor.

First trimester

Bleeding is more common during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some mild spotting can occur when the placenta implants in the uterus. Some light bleeding can happen when a woman experience changes in the cervical cells during pregnancy. This may happen especially after having sex.

Other causes of bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy include:

  • Ectopic pregnancy: It occurs when a fertilized egg gets implanted and grows outside the uterus. When this happens, it is a medical emergency.
  • If a woman has an infection
  • If it is miscarriage or pregnancy loss
  • If you get subchorionic hemorrhage which is also known as a subchorionic hematoma. It happens when bleeding occurs between the uterine wall and the placenta.
  • A gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD). It is a very rare condition that can cause complications in pregnancy by a tumor that may contain abnormal fetal tissue.

After 20 weeks

Causes of bleeding in the later stages of pregnancy may include:

  • Cervical examination: When a doctor checks the cervix for any abnormalities it may result in some minor spotting and bleeding.
  • Placenta previa: Bleeding can also happen when a woman’s placenta is implanted close to the cervical opening or on the cervical opening.
  • Preterm labor or labor: At the time of labor, the cervix dilates and the uterus contracts to move the foetus down. All this process during labour can result in some bleeding.
  • Sexual intercourse: When a woman has sex with her partner during pregnancy, unless advised by a doctor not to do so. It may result in some spotting and bleeding due to the sensitivity of the tissues in the vagina and cervix.
  • Uterine rupture: A woman’s uterus may tear during labour. This happens rarely but the chances of it happening is high when a woman has in her previous pregnancy had a caesarean delivery or if she had any surgery done on the uterus.
  • Placental abruption: It is a serious medical condition in which the placenta starts to separate itself from the uterus before the birth of a baby.

If a woman experiences bleeding at any stage of pregnancy and is concerned about her bleeding. She should speak to her doctor and give her every information about the color, amount, and consistency of the bleeding.

When to see a doctor?

Sometimes bleeding is not that serious during pregnancy and may happen due to some minor reasons. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes it can be a medical emergency. In that case, women should seek emergency medical attention for bleeding during pregnancy. And, if they have additional symptoms such as:

  • You experience cramps and pain.
  • You get dizzy or faint
  • Heavy bleeding or passing clots of blood
  • If you have severe pain in the stomach and pelvis

A woman should also see a doctor about bleeding during pregnancy if it’s bright red in color and a pad gets drenched in blood. Vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain in the early stages of pregnancy may be a sign of ectopic pregnancy. It is especially the case if these symptoms occur before an initial ultrasound. Any woman who thinks she has ectopic pregnancy should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Another case when you should see a doctor is when a woman bleeds and is showing signs and symptoms of preterm labor. Preterm labor is labor that happens before 37 weeks of gestation.   Preterm labor symptoms may include constant pain in the lower back, abdominal cramping, and contractions happening on a regular period.


Bleeding during pregnancy is not an indication of a woman having her period. There are differing reasons for bleeding or spotting during pregnancy. Bleeding can happen due to the changes that a body goes through during pregnancy. 

The bleeding that happens due to the regular changes in pregnancy does not insinuate any underlying problems. But if a woman experiences heavy bleeding it may indicate a health issue that requires immediate medical treatment. If a woman experiences either a light or heavy bleeding during pregnancy, she should speak to a healthcare professional in both cases.  


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