Are you experiencing abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding and unsure of the cause? Are you concerned these could be related to pregnancy symptoms? Learn the important differences between miscarriage, implantation bleeding, and my period.
Pregnancy can come with its fair share of complications and concerns. One of the most common worries for pregnant women is experiencing bleeding or spotting. While it can be a sign of a miscarriage, it can also be a normal part of pregnancy. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between a miscarriage, implantation bleeding, and a regular period, and what to do if you experience any of these symptoms.
What is a Miscarriage?
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. It is a common occurrence, with about 10-20% of known pregnancies ending in miscarriage. However, the actual number may be higher, as many miscarriages happen before a female even knows she is pregnant.
You might have heard your friends talking about miscarriages at school or during casual conversation. While it is common among speech, it is important to be informed about miscarriages in the event you may experience symptoms.
What Causes a Miscarriage?
There are many reasons why a miscarriage may occur, including:
- Chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus
- Hormonal imbalances
- Chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or thyroid problems
- Uterine abnormalities
- Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, drug use, or excessive alcohol consumption
It’s important to know what may be common causes of miscarriages, and for peace of mind what doesn’t typically cause a miscarriage. According to Mayo Clinic, these are not reasons why a miscarriage may occur:
- Exercise, as long as you’re healthy. But talk with your pregnancy care team first. And stay away from activities that could lead to injury, such as contact sports.
- Use of birth control pills before getting pregnant
- Working, as long as you’re not exposed to high doses of harmful chemicals or radiation. Talk with your health care professional if you’re concerned about work-related risks.
Signs and Symptoms of a Miscarriage
The most common sign of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding, which can range from light spotting to heavy bleeding. Other symptoms may include:
- Cramping or abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Passing tissue or clots from the vagina
- Loss of pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea or breast tenderness
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your healthcare provider immediately. Other health concerns could be associated with a miscarriage and its symptoms, it is a good idea to be sure of your overall health.
A much less common topic of conversation is implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding can easily be mistaken for spotting blood typically experienced at the beginning of your period. Sometimes it is an actual pregnancy symptom. If implantation bleeding is mistaken for a light period, you might not realize that you’re pregnant.
Understanding Implantation Bleeding
What is Implantation Bleeding?
Implantation bleeding is a light spotting or discharge that occurs when a fertilized egg implants itself into the lining of the uterus. It typically happens around 6-12 days after conception and is often one of the first signs of pregnancy.
If you think that you are experiencing implantation bleeding, we strongly suggest that you take a pregnancy test.
Next, you may want to calculate your due date. This is important to know for many reasons as you begin to think about planning this pregnancy. There are many free due date calculators and pregnancy planner apps online; however, remember that these only provide estimates.
How is Implantation Bleeding Different from a Miscarriage?
While both implantation bleeding and a miscarriage can cause vaginal bleeding, there are some key differences between the two. Implantation bleeding is usually light and may only last for a few hours or days. It may also be accompanied by mild cramping or discomfort. In contrast, a miscarriage typically involves heavier bleeding and more severe cramping or pain.
If you are experiencing light implantation bleeding, it stops on its own and does not require treatment. However, if you are concerned about any vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, please seek medical attention.
It may be a good idea to also become educated on common pregnancy symptoms—please read this resource on our website which further explains typical symptoms.
Understanding My Period
What is a Period?
A period, also known as menstruation, is a monthly shedding of the uterine lining. It is a normal part of a woman’s menstrual cycle and usually lasts for 3-7 days.
How is a Period Different from a Miscarriage or Implantation Bleeding?
A period is different from a miscarriage or implantation bleeding in several ways. Firstly, a period occurs on a regular monthly cycle, implantation bleeding doesn’t happen at any time during a pregnancy, it happens at a very specific time. Additionally, a period typically involves heavier bleeding and more severe cramping than implantation bleeding.
What to Do If You Experience Bleeding During Pregnancy
If you experience any bleeding during pregnancy, it is important to contact your healthcare provider immediately. They will be able to assess your symptoms and determine the cause of the bleeding. In some cases, they may recommend an ultrasound or other tests to check on the health of the pregnancy.
While bleeding during pregnancy can be a cause for concern, it is important to remember that it is not always a sign of a miscarriage. Implantation bleeding and a regular period can also cause vaginal bleeding.
If you experience any bleeding during pregnancy, it is important to contact your healthcare provider for guidance and support. Remember to take care of yourself and seek support from friends, family, and loved ones during this challenging time.