Many women experience some spotting or bleeding in the early stages of their pregnancies. Between 20 and 30 percent of women will have some type of vaginal or uterine bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy, appearing as a brown or pink discharge. It is not uncommon for it to continue past the first trimester and some women continue to spot or bleed lightly during their second and third trimesters. The bleeding may resemble menstruation; however, it is something entirely different.
Decidual Bleeding - Like a Period
It is a well known fact that a woman\'s hormones do strange things during pregnancy, and occasionally when this happens in pregnancy, a period-type of bleeding can occur called decidual bleeding. Decidual bleeding is the loss of parts of the uterine lining. It is common in the early stages of pregnancy before the placenta and lining have joined. It can be disconcerting to think of the endometrium falling away, but the fact is that it isn\'t a serious condition and is not considered a threat to either mother or baby.
Menstruation or period-bleeding occurs at the end of the normal reproduction cycle in a healthy woman. During the menstrual cycle, the body releases hormones that signal the body to prepare for the release, fertilization and implantation of an egg from one of the ovaries. From the beginning of the cycle the hormones are preparing an egg for release that will flow down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. The lining of the uterus has been prepared by hormonal releases that cause it to thicken in preparation for implantation of an egg. If the egg is not fertilized, hormone levels drop and the egg along with the lining of the uterus will be sloughed off in the process we call menstruation.
Decidual Bleeding - What It Is and How It Happens
When pregnancy occurs the entire body, including hormones and especially the reproductive organs, work to provide support for the growing baby. The menstrual cycle stops when conception occurs and the hormones realign to establish a healthy uterine environment for the baby to grow. Rather than dropping off as they do during menstruation, hormones continue to increase to keep the uterus healthy. As a matter of fact, the way a pregnancy test works is by measuring the increase in specific hormones. If the hormones dropped during pregnancy then the lining of the uterus would be compromised and the baby would not have a safe place to grow. It doesn\'t make sense for this to happen - which means that spotting and bleeding during pregnancy has to be caused by something other than menstruation.