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  • Writer's pictureBrandy Meeks

5 Reasons You’re Spotting After a Positive Pregnancy Test



Woman wondering "Why am I spotting after a positive pregnancy test?".



Early pregnancy can be a stressful and confusing time. Your body is starting to change and you’re experiencing new symptoms every day. The one thing you least expect is spotting, especially after a positive pregnancy test. You should always report your concerns to your doctor.


We get it—it’s easy to panic when you first start spotting. Thankfully, it’s not always a sign that something’s wrong! According to the March of Dimes, 1 out of 4 (up to 25%) of all women have some bleeding or spotting during their pregnancy[1]. In this blog, we’ll explain 5 possible reasons you’re spotting after a positive pregnancy test.

Implantation Bleeding

Implantation bleeding is a small amount of light bleeding or spotting, typically between 10 to 14 days after conception[2]. It’s a very common early pregnancy symptom and isn’t usually a cause for alarm. It is considered spotting when you notice a few drops of blood occasionally in your underwear, or if you see a little blood on the tissue paper after wiping. There should not be enough blood to fill a panty liner.


Implantation bleeding can last from a few hours to a few days. It will rarely last longer than three days[3]. In a healthy pregnancy, it should stop on its own without the need for medical treatment[3].

Vaginitis

Vaginitis refers to the inflammation of the vagina that can cause itching, discharge, and pain[4]. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s usually caused by infection, changes in the balance of vaginal bacteria, or the hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy[4].


Women who develop vaginitis during pregnancy are at greater risk of going into labor and giving birth too early[5], so it’s crucial to get treated as soon as possible. Thankfully, there are a number of pregnancy-friendly medications available for vaginitis! Speak to your doctor to receive a diagnosis and discuss your treatment options.

Cervical Polyps

Cervical polyps are harmless growths on the cervix[6]. According to the American Pregnancy Association, they are more likely to bleed during pregnancy due to increased estrogen levels and an increased number of blood vessels in the tissue around the cervix[6]. As a result, contact with this area (such as a gynecological exam or sexual intercourse) may cause bleeding[6].


Cervical polyps are usually benign, but your healthcare provider may want to remove them and send them to the lab for testing to be sure. That being said, cervical polyps are rare during pregnancy. Your doctor may or may not remove them if there’s a chance it could disrupt your cervix. It all depends on your condition, the location of the polyps, and their size[7].

Molar Pregnancy

A molar pregnancy occurs when a noncancerous growth forms in place of a placenta. Unfortunately, the growth can’t support the growing embryo and the pregnancy eventually ends[8]. A common symptom of molar pregnancies is vaginal bleeding during the first three months of pregnancy[8].


There are two types of molar pregnancies: partial and complete. In a partial molar pregnancy, two sperm fertilize one egg, giving the embryo an extra set of chromosomes, and an abnormal placenta forms. The embryo may begin to grow, but usually cannot survive[8].


In a complete molar pregnancy, a sperm fertilizes an empty egg and an embryo never forms. Abnormal placenta tissue forms, which is filled with tumors. The tissue produces hCG (the pregnancy hormone), which will yield a positive pregnancy test and cause you to feel pregnant[8].


Thankfully, most women who receive treatment for their molar pregnancies don’t experience any further complications[8]. Your risk for future miscarriage does not increase, but you are at a slightly higher risk of another molar pregnancy[8]. Additionally, you will need to receive regular follow-up care to monitor your risk for cancer.

Early Miscarriage or Ectopic Pregnancy

Although spotting is common in the first trimester, it can also be a symptom of early miscarriage[9]. It can also be accompanied by a fast heartbeat, cramping or pain in your lower back or pelvic area, and tissue or fluid passing from your vagina[9].


Another possibility is an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, such as in a fallopian tube. Some ectopic pregnancies can resolve on their own[10], but others continue to grow until they cause the fallopian tube to rupture, leading to life-threatening bleeding.


Unfortunately, an ectopic pregnancy cannot continue. Once discovered, you must receive treatment as quickly as possible. Your doctor may prescribe a medication called methotrexate, which stops the fertilized egg from growing and dissolves existing cells[10]. If a rupture has already occurred, you will need emergency surgery to remove the fertilized egg. In some cases, the fallopian tube can be left to heal on its own. However, a ruptured tube will have to be removed[10].

Early warning signs of ectopic pregnancy include shoulder pain, pelvic pain, and light bleeding[11]. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms described above, go to the emergency room right away to receive treatment.

Free Pregnancy Services in Conyers, GA

You don’t have to navigate pregnancy (and all the crazy symptoms that come with it) alone. The Refuge Center is here to help! We provide free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, and a safe place to ask questions and get answers.


Give us a call at (770) 922-5939 or schedule an appointment online today. All services are confidential and free of charge!


This blog is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to serve as medical advice. Speak to your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing spotting or bleeding while pregnant.

Sources

  1. Bleeding and spotting from the vagina during pregnancy. March of Dimes. (2020, April). https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/pregnancy/bleeding-and-spotting-vagina-during-pregnancy#

  2. Implantation bleeding: Common in early pregnancy?. Mayo Clinic. (2022, April 19). https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/implantation-bleeding/faq-20058257

  3. Implantation Bleeding: Causes, Symptoms & What to Expect. Cleveland Clinic. (2022, December 16). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/24536-implantation-bleeding

  4. Does vaginitis affect a pregnant woman & her infant?. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022, February 11). https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/vaginitis/conditioninfo/pregnancy#

  5. Spotting During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association. (2023, September 20). https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-concerns/spotting-during-pregnancy/?nocache=1674975631

  6. Cervical Polyp: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment. Cleveland Clinic. (2022, November 11). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/24436-cervical-polyp

  7. Molar Pregnancy: Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatments. Cleveland Clinic. (2022, November 26). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17889-molar-pregnancy

  8. Ectopic Pregnancy - Diagnosis & Treatment. Mayo Clinic. (2022, March 12). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372093

  9. Ectopic Pregnancy - Symptoms & Causes. Mayo Clinic. (2022, March 12). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/symptoms-causes/syc-20372088

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