What Causes Spotting in Pregnancy?


Spotting is also a normal and natural side effect of the woman’s body if it’s not well-maintained. Spotting doesn’t indicate your period is coming or if it will be heavy or light. Even if it is, some doctors believe that it’s a sign that the pregnancy is viable and developing normally, even if it’s not as much as it should be. So if you are having more than 10-14 days of spotting, this could be a sign that the pregnancy is viable. Spotting and non-sporting bleed differently.

Spotting during pregnancy

Spotting is not necessarily the result of something wrong, but it is often an indication that there is something going on that will continue to progress throughout pregnancy. If a woman continues to spot after six weeks of pregnancy, she may want to talk to her doctor about an ultrasound. Most women will spot before their pregnancy is over.

Spotting is the first sign of pregnancy, and it often occurs within the first few weeks of a missed period. While spotting is an annoying symptom for many, it is a sign that the embryo and a small amount of the mother’s uterine lining is beginning to develop. There are many reasons why spotting might happen during pregnancy. It could be from the baby’s head placing a lot of pressure on the cervix, or it could be from the amniotic fluid thinning.

What happens if spotting continues during pregnancy?

Spotting that persists throughout the pregnancy is known as clinical pregnancy. This is an indication that the embryo has implanted into the womb. If spotting continues for a longer period than 48 hours or is accompanied by cramping or bleeding, a doctor may be able to diagnose a miscarriage, depending on the severity.

Why Does Spotting Occur in Pregnancy?

A combination of several different reasons can lead to spotting in pregnancy.

Some of the reasons include

Allergy treatments can interfere with the function of a woman’s menstrual cycle. This can lead to spotting, which could then be confused with a missed period. A doctor can usually determine the cause of the allergy, and treat the body to get it back on track.

Low progesterone

Some women experience an elevated amount of progesterone during their cycle, but during pregnancy the amount of progesterone in the body is low, which can lead to spotting. This can also occur with an ectopic pregnancy, when a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube, or ovary, instead of the uterus.

Some women experience spotting only when they sneeze.

Other potential causes
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • miscarriage
  • low progesterone levels
  • stress

Many of these conditions occur during pregnancy, but other conditions are not related to pregnancy and can cause spotting while other people are pregnant.

How often does spotting occur in early pregnancy?

Most often, women experience spotting between 10 and 20 days past ovulation. Not all bleeding in early pregnancy is normal or can be explained by ovulation. Sometimes there is an underlying cause, such as fibroids or a polyp in the uterus.

Causes of spotting in pregnancy

Celiac disease

Celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity, is a digestive condition.

Symptoms of celiac disease
  • Not absorbing nutrients from food
  • Frequent skin rashes
  • Itching
  • Stomach aches

Symptoms may progress to diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramps. During pregnancy, there are symptoms related to diarrhea.

Symptoms of the baby moving may be another early sign

the baby moving may be another early sign

Environmental hazards

Environmental hazards may lead to miscarriage. If the mother or fetus has exposure to environmental toxins, they may cause a miscarriage.

Risk of a miscarriage due to

  • Salmonella
  • Elevated stress
  • Pesticides
  • Chemicals in the water
  • Chemicals in clothing or homes
  • Pollution of the air

Some environmental toxins are harmless, but others may cause infertility or miscarriage.

Signs and symptoms of a miscarriage
  • Symptoms of an illness or infection
  • Slight nausea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dilated or swollen stomach
  • Pain in the lower back or abdomen
  • Pain in the legs
Some risk factors for miscarriage
  • Anovulation
  • cyclical miscarriage
  • miscarriage before 12 weeks
  • premature pregnancy

Symptoms include

  • anemia
  • nausea and vomiting
  • vaginal bleeding
  • incomplete implantation
  • malformed or abnormal embryo

Possible causes of spotting during pregnancy

Implantation bleeding in pregnancy
Women with the following signs and symptoms are more likely to have implantation
  • Red or brown urine or light-brown stools
  • Severe, rapid, or irregular menstruation with vaginal bleeding or a spotty or heavy flow
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Fever or chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Bouts of vomiting or diarrhea
  • Increase in menstrual bleeding

Women who do not have any of the above symptoms can also have implantation bleeding.

Serious complications

If implantation bleeding does not go away or is accompanied by vaginal bleeding, it may be a sign of miscarriage.

In rare cases, implantation bleeding may be an early sign of ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo implants in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus.

If implantation bleeding does not go away after 48 hours, medical attention should be sought. A doctor will likely do an ultrasound to check the fetal heartbeat and the presence of the embryo.

Treatment for implantation bleeding

Treatment for implantation bleeding

The only treatment for implantation bleeding is for the health of the mother. It will not cause the loss of the pregnancy.

If the bleeding is heavy, a doctor may recommend that the woman takes a day off work. It may also be beneficial for a woman to avoid sexual intercourse for 24 hours, which can reduce the risk of passing blood or having an ectopic pregnancy.

Good diet

A doctor may also suggest changing the diet, including reducing the amount of iron in the diet and eating foods that are rich in vitamin C.

Ectopic pregnancy

Bleeding can happen during ectopic pregnancy and can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy also. Ectopic pregnancy can happen to anyone. Common risk factors include a previous ectopic pregnancy, exposure to certain medications, and some birth control methods. Ectopic pregnancies are rare, but they can still be very serious.

Ectopic pregnancy signs

Signs of the condition include pain or swelling in the abdomen, bleeding that does not go away or is heavier than normal, and low white blood cells in the urine. You should contact your GP if you suspect you are suffering from an ectopic pregnancy.


Bleeding and spotting can also be a sign of miscarriage. A miscarriage can occur during the third trimester of pregnancy. This is the period of a pregnancy when a developing baby is called “gestational age” and no longer has a developing placenta. Miscarriage is a natural process that usually occurs within the first trimester of pregnancy.

Most miscarriages are painless and happen about seven to 10 days after conception. But they can also happen soon after conception or sometimes in the second trimester.

Most miscarriages do not cause complications. The symptoms, however, are uncomfortable for some women. A miscarriage can cause a feeling of loss, shock, and often depression.

A miscarriage can also cause health problems in future pregnancies, including an increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth.

Medical tests for spotting

Medical tests for spotting

In the first trimester

The ultrasound.

For this test, the doctor or midwife will insert a thin, flexible plastic rod into the vagina and measure the quantity and consistency of bleeding over several days. The amount of bleeding can be compared to what is usually seen in early pregnancy.

If you have abnormal results, you may need further tests, such as an ultrasound or an electrocardiogram (EKG).

Ultrasound images of the uterus and fallopian tubes can help the doctor determine if there is a problem.

In the second trimester

Doctors usually suggest you do not research before visiting a specialist for spotting or cramping.

Some signs that spotting could be a cause for concern
  • pain during intercourse
  • anemia
  • clots
  • polycystic ovaries
  • low blood sugar

When to see a doctor

When to see a doctor

A doctor can help diagnose bleeding in early pregnancy and will be able to tell you the cause. A doctor can help diagnose bleeding in early pregnancy and will be able to tell you the cause.

A doctor should be consulted if bleeding is frequent, takes on a pattern of its own, or seems to worsen after sex.

If there is any pain or cramping associated with the spotting, you may also want to see a doctor. Doctors can also determine whether the bleeding is an ectopic pregnancy, a placental abruption, or just normal.

Not all spotting is “normal.” It could mean a miscarriage is coming, or it could just be nothing. If you notice any of the following signs, be sure to contact your health care provider immediately.

Bottom Line

In general, if you’re pregnant, it’s best to get your doctor to confirm the pregnancy before making any changes to your normal medical care. Most women who experience spotting or cramping during early pregnancy will not need to visit a doctor. The most likely cause of the bleeding is that the lining of the uterus is thin, but not enough to be seen on an ultrasound.