Bleeding during pregnancy is a very serious matter. The level of bleeding can vary from spotting to heavy bleeding and, although it is not always dangerous, in many cases it will signify a problem. Therefore, if you do notice any bleeding during your pregnancy please call us immediately. We will examine you as a matter of urgency and carry out scans to ensure that your baby is alive, then offer you further advice and treatment.
More information about these conditions can be found below.
For further information and advice, please book an appointment with Queen’s Clinic by phoning us on 020 7935 5540.
Ectopic pregnancies are the main cause of bleeding during pregnancy. They occur when the fertilised egg implants itself outside of the uterus in the fallopian tubes. This is a dangerous condition because the eggs will then grow inside a lumen of the tube, resulting in rupture and causing severe internal bleeding. It is life threatening and you will require urgent laparoscopy or laparotomy, depending on the case.
An ectopic pregnancy may be diagnosed following a vaginal ultrasound, blood tests, laparoscopic surgery, or if the woman is experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding. If detected early, the embryo must be removed. The exact treatment recommended will depend on your symptoms, the size of your pregnancy and the level of pregnancy hormone in your blood. An experienced gynaecologist will be able to detect an ectopic pregnancy early and treat it before rupture; this is the key to saving the fallopian tube that was affected.
Symptoms are usually noticed between the 4th and 12th weeks of pregnancy.
Symptoms of fallopian tupe rupture include:
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you must call us or go to your nearest hospital immediately.
A miscarriage refers to the loss of a pregnancy during the first 24 weeks.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, please book an emergency appointment with your gynaecologist.
There are many reasons why a miscarriage can happen, although the cause isn’t usually identified. The majority of miscarriages are caused by chromosomal or genetic abnormalities.
If a miscarriage occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy, it is usually caused by problems with the fetus due to chromosomal problems or genetic problems. Approximately 75% of miscarriages happen during this period.
If a miscarriage happens during the second trimester of pregnancy, it may be the result of an underlying health problem with the mother. For example:
The majority of miscarriages cannot be prevented. However, if a woman has experienced more than three miscarriages, we may recommend that you take certain medication to help you through your pregnancy.
You can reduce your risk of miscarriage by avoiding consumption of alcohol/cigarettes/drugs, maintaining a healthy weight and diet, increasing your protection against infections, and being careful when eating meat, eggs or unpasturised dairy products to avoid food poisoning.
For most women, a miscarriage is a one-off event and they go on to have successful pregnancies in the future.
The term ‘recurrent miscarriage’ refers to when a woman has experienced three or more miscarriages in succession.
In this scenario, your gynaecologist may advise that you undergo the following examinations and testing:
If you are lucky enough to become pregnant again, we will offer you an early ultrasound scan and regularly follow up throughout your pregnancy to monitor the baby’s development and ensure that you continue to have a healthy, successful pregnancy.
Placental Abruption is an uncommon but serious complication of pregnancy. The placenta starts to come away from the uterus before the baby is ready to be born, causing intrauterine bleeding and abdominal pain, in addition to deterioration in fetal movements; this is life-threatening to both the baby and the mother. If this happens, you must be admitted to hospital immediately to have an emergency cesarean section.
In some cases, the mother may lose her baby and/or her uterus. However, with immediate treatment and a fast recovery of the baby from the uterus, the baby can survive very well.
The exact cause is unknown, but it is often associated with women who:
For patients whose baby is in the breech position, some obstetricians will attempt external cephalic version to move the baby and allow a normal vaginal delivery. This can lead to an immediate Placental Abruption. Therefore, we advise that this procedure should only be performed by extremely senior obstetricians who have substantial experience.
Placental Abruption is a serious condition as it has the potential to deprive your baby of vital oxygen and nutrients, resulting in growth problems and even premature birth. Furthermore, a large amount of bleeding can be dangerous for you both, sometimes causing the baby to be stillborn.
Women with Placental Abruption are often advised to give birth by cesarean section for the safety of themselves and their baby. This will be at a much earlier date than the pre-assumed date of natural delivery.
Placenta Praevia occurs when the placenta surrounding the baby is blocking the cervix or lower end of the uterus. This can cause complications and severe bleeding before or during delivery of the baby. Regular scans can detect a low-lying placenta at an early stage of pregnancy, in the second trimester.
The placenta plays a vital role in providing oxygen and nutrients to the baby, and removing any waste products from its blood. In most pregnancies, the placenta will attach itself to the top or side of the uterus. However, if it attaches to the lower area of the uterus, the placenta may grow over the cervix resulting in Placenta Praevia Centralis.
Most cases are diagnosed during the second trimester ultrasound examination. It is often diagnosed in women who have:
If you have Placenta Praevia, your gynaecologist may suggest that you have a cesarean section to safely deliver your baby.