Implantation bleeding and your pregnancy

Sr Rinie, midwife at the Homegrown Babies clinic at Mopani Pharmacy Crossing shared her expertise on implantation bleeding and other pregnancy concerns.

What is implantation bleeding?

“Implantation bleeding occurs when a fertilised egg (embryo) implants into your uterine lining. It is normal for the first few days of your pregnancy.”

How is it different from your normal menstrual cycle?

“You can differentiate it from a normal period by its colour and viscosity. Implantation bleeding is congruent with light spotting, on and off, and will be pink-to-brown in colour, whereas your period may start light but end up crimson red with a consistent, heavier flow.

“Implantation cramps are light and short-lived, where period pain may remain consistent. Periods may have some clotting as it has a mix of blood and tissue, whereas implantation bleeding does not. Implantation bleeding can last between one to three days, a period may last between four and seven days.”

What causes spotting during pregnancy?

“Spotting during pregnancy can be due to various reasons. It is most likely coming from the cervix, the outer piece of your uterus that is palpable in your vagina. It can be due to erosion or hormonal influence. It is better to seek medical attention when you experience heavy bleeding in your pregnancy.”

What is placental abruption?

“Placental abruption or placenta abruptio is an uncommon but serious complication in pregnancy. It means that the placenta separates from the uterus before birth. This causes a decrease or block in the baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients and causes heavy bleeding in the mother.”

“Causes of placenta abruptio is still unknown. Possible causes include trauma or injury to the abdomen. Unfortunately, because we do not understand the causes it is difficult to prevent.”

“In severe cases, babies will be delivered prematurely, and mom may need a blood transfusion. The outcome may not always be a happy one, even with medical intervention, as the baby will be deprived of oxygen for some time.”

“In some cases, placenta abruptio develops slowly (chronic abruption). This can cause light, intermittent vaginal bleeding. The baby might not grow as quickly as expected, but still survive, and the mother might have low amniotic fluid or other complications. In these cases, mothers are often placed on bed-rest until the baby is born.”

Are there any precautions that you should be taking during your pregnancy to prevent problems?

We advise that:

  • You seek medical attention if you had a hard fall or motor vehicle accident when you are pregnant
  • Always wear your seatbelt when traveling
  • You should not smoke
  • Follow up regularly with your doctor or midwife to make sure that your blood pressure is under control
  • Trust your gut. If you feel that something is wrong, check in with your doctor or midwife

Did you know?

Our Homegrown Babies midwives can facilitate all of your check-ups and even a home birth. Join our Baby Club for special promotions, activities and special gifts.

Read more: Know your body – what changes to expect during pregnancy

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