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Bleeding in early pregnancy

Q. I am 28 years old and am six weeks pregnant. This is my first pregnancy. I am having “menses” for the past few days. The bleeding is not heavy. Is this normal? Shall I see a doctor?

A. When you are pregnant, you should not have “menses” or bleeding from the vagina. Any bleeding in early pregnancy can be worrying as it may be a symptom of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb).You should see your obstetrician straight away. About 20-30% of women experience some degree of bleeding in early pregnancy. If the bleeding is slight, it is called threatened miscarriage. A threatened miscarriage does not necessarily mean that you are going to miscarry. If the bleeding settles down, there is a good chance that all is well and your baby is fine. However, if you have menstrual cramps with heavy bleeding and clots or tissues passing out through the vagina, miscarriage is imminent. The majority of miscarriage occurs in the first trimester.

Ectopic pregnancy usually occurs in the fallopian tube. It can be life threatening as it causes internal bleeding when the fallopian tube ruptures. Symptoms include severe cramping or sharp pain in the lower abdomen, fainting attacks and shoulder pain. The chances of an ectopic pregnancy increase if you have a past history of Sexually transmitted diseases, abortion or pelvic surgery.

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