Frequently asked questions

What does vaginal bleeding and pain mean to me?

Vaginal bleeding and or cramping pain in early stages of pregnancy are common and do not always mean that there is a problem. However, bleeding and /or pain can be a warning sign of a miscarriage or less commonly of other complications in early pregnancy. Sadly, if the bleeding is because the pregnancy is miscarrying, it is very unlikely that anything can be done to stop this.

What could be the cause of bleeding and/or pain at this stage of pregnancy?

A threatened miscarriage: If you have bleeding and/or pain and your ultrasound scan conforms that your pregnancy is progressing normally, this is known as a threatened miscarriage. Many women who bleed at this stage of pregnancy will go on to have a healthy baby.

An early miscarriage: Unfortunately, bleeding and/or pain in early pregnancy can mean you have had or having a miscarriage. Sadly, early miscarriages are common in the first three months, one in five women will have a miscarriage, for no apparent reason following a positive pregnancy test. However, most miscarriages occur as a one off event and there is a good chance of having successful pregnancy in future.

An ectopic pregnancy: When pregnancy starts to grow outside the womb, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. In the UK one in 90 pregnancies is ectopic. Your symptoms, scan findings and blood tests might lead to a suspicion that you have ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy may pose a risk to your health. If it is suspected or confirmed, you will be offered a treatment.

A pregnancy of unknown location (PUL): When you have a positive pregnancy test and your pregnancy cannot be seen clearly in an ultrasound, it is known as PUL. This can happen with very small early pregnancies, miscarriages that have occurred before the scan has taken place or ectopic pregnancy too small to see. Follow up test will be arranged. You will need to come to the hospital immediately if you experience pain.

A molar pregnancy: This is abnormal condition where placenta is abnormal and pregnancy does not develop properly. It affects only one in 700 pregnancies. A molar pregnancy is  diagnosed in an ultrasound and confirmed with pathological examination.  

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