First Trimester

Q&A: Spotting During The 1st Trimester?

I just saw some spotting and am freaking out. I’m still in my first trimester — am I having a miscarriage?

Not necessarily...and while it's important to call your doc, it's just as important to sit down, relax, and breathe for a minute. About 20 to 30 percent of women experience bleeding in the first trimester, and only about half of this number actually miscarry.

So what else could it be? If it's the week or two after conception likely occurred, it may be implantation bleeding. This happens when your little fertilized (yay!) egg starts burrowing into your uterus, and can appear as light spotting for anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Since your cervix is especially sensitive right now, you might notice bleeding after sex. If this happens, wait to have sex again until you've spoken with your doc. (But not because sex can cause miscarriage! It can't! But, your doctor can help you avoid further irritation.) Bleeding can also be a sign of infection in your pelvic cavity or urinary tract, or may simply be a result of the increased blood flow to your cervix.

That said, it's still important to call your doctor whenever you notice bleeding. Though it could be nothing, it also could be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, or miscarriage. No matter what the cause, though, our initial recommendation stands — sit down and take a deep breath. Worrying won't change a thing.

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. Your pregnancy and birth. 4th ed. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2005.

By Paula Kashtan