The following guidelines will help you determine the
severity of your vaginal bleeding.
Severe bleeding means you are soaking through your usual pads or tampons each hour for 2 or more hours. For most women, soaking through their usual pads or tampons every hour for 2 or more hours is not normal and is considered severe. If you are pregnant: You may have a gush of blood or pass a clot, but if the bleeding stops, it is not considered severe.
Moderate bleeding means that you are soaking more than 1 pad or tampon in 3 hours.
Mild bleeding means that you are soaking less than 1 pad or tampon in more than 3 hours.
Minimal bleeding means "spotting" or a few drops of blood.
Up to 25% of pregnant women have some spotting or
light vaginal bleeding. Of these women, about 50% do not have a miscarriage.
Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is more common among women who have been
pregnant before than in women who are pregnant for the first
Very early spotting sometimes occurs when the fertilized egg
implants in the
uterus. Implantation takes place 6 to 10 days after
fertilization, which usually occurs on the day of intercourse.
Bleeding in the second or third trimester of pregnancy may
mean a problem is present, such as:
Placenta previa. Normally, the placenta
is attached to the top portion of the uterus. In placenta previa, the placenta has attached low in the uterus, and partially or
completely covers or blocks the
Placenta abruptio. Normally, the placenta is firmly
attached to the uterine wall until birth. If the
placenta separates from the uterus before the baby is delivered, this
is called placenta abruptio or abruptio placenta or placental
abruption. Placenta abruptio usually occurs in the third trimester of
pregnancy, but it can occur any time after the 20th week.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine